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dan pearson studio

King’s Cross Central

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The place

Kings Cross Central is one of the largest regeneration projects ever seen in London, with offices, new homes, high-end shops, museums, galleries, public spaces and a university taking the place of disused railway lands. Working with masterplanners, Townshend Landscape Architects, we have been responsible for the planting design of a number of green public spaces across the site, including Handyside Gardens, a linear viaduct across the Regents Canal, canalside plantings linking the two, Cubitt Square, Gasholder Park and a range of planters across the whole site. We also designed private roof garden and courtyard spaces for three residential developments on site and are currently preparing proposals for planting and seating to Coal Drops Yard.

The brief

In contrast to typical developers of large urban schemes, Argent was looking to bring an informal, seasonal, garden approach to the green spaces at Kings Cross, to reflect the presence of residential development, but also to provide delight and enjoyment  for the wide variety of local users, from office workers to students, shoppers and passing visitors.

The design

Our aim has been to create a lived-in feeling that is robust and low-maintenance. Due to Argent’s commitment to the highest standards of horticulture on site, this has been balanced with a wide-ranging and unusual plant palette for public realm plantings, focussed on creating a long season of interest and the considered use of vibrant colour. Handyside Gardens is strongly influenced by the site’s industrial heritage, and uses a number of pioneer plants that establish in brownfield sites. On the viaduct, a greater sense of order takes over, echoing the brickwork of the structure, while at Gasholder Park an urban ‘meadow’ of ornamental grasses and flowering plants creates a sense of heightened nature.

client
Argent LLP

size
67 acres

duration
2011-

status
Ongoing

masterplanner
Townshend Landscape Architects

architects
David Morley Architects

Niall McLaughlin Architects

Bell Phillips Architects

Wilkinson Eyre

Jonathan Tuckey Design

awards
2019 | Civic Trust Awards | Gasholders London | Award

2019 Civic Trust Awards | Gasholder Park | Commendation

2018 New London Awards | Public Space | Canal Corridor

2016 New London Awards | Public Space | Gasholder Park

2016 BALI Awards | Grand Award

2014 New London Awards | Overall Winner

photography
John Sturrock/Argent LLP

Huw Morgan