Granary Square – A New Public Space for London Opens at King’s Cross

Posted: Friday 13th July 2012
  • The King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP) completes Granary Square in the heart of the 67-acre King’s Cross development
  • The square, similar in scale to Trafalgar Square, will open up around 8,000 sq m of public space, the centrepiece is a stunning fountain with 1,080 individually programmed water jets
  • Granary Square also includes a number of restored and retained heritage features, new trees and seating
  • The square will become home to a series of events, with the first dozen already scheduled to take place this summer

Granary Square, in the canalside heart of King’s Cross and delivered by the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP), officially opened today (13 June) creating a new public square for London. The 8,000 sq m space is similar in scale to Trafalgar Square and sits in front of the award-winning Granary Building, home to Central Saint Martins and links to the Regent’s Canal. Granary Square now joins London’s other famous squares; the most recent in a long line of impressive public spaces in central London.Granary Square has been designed by Townshend Landscape Architects and its completion marks a major milestone in the development of King’s Cross. The square has as its central feature a stunning water fountain made by the Fountain Workshop. The fountain has 1,080 individual water jets set in four large bays in front of the Granary Building. When in use, the water jets, which each have their own pump and light, can be programmed to dance at different heights or be simply left as mirror pools beautifully reflecting the Granary Building behind.

There are two big tanks sitting below the square which together hold 105,000 litres of water – the equivalent of 650 barrels of beer. Once water passes through the fountains it runs back to the tanks, being filtered and cleaned along the way – so the same water can be used over and over again. This recirculation system makes the fountain extremely water efficient and sustainable.

The heritage aspects of the space have been retained with the old railway tracks still visible, the line of the former canal basin marked out with stone edges and one of the original rail turntables restored and topped with a glass panel so that the mechanism can still be seen. Also in the square amongst the bosque of lime trees are the words of The Brill, a poem by King’s Cross poet Aidan Dun, inscribed into the ground: “Kings Cross, dense with angels and histories. There are cities beneath your pavements. Cities behind your skies. Let me see!”

Summer Stories, a summer programme of exciting events which will take place in the square and around King’s Cross, has also been announced today. This includes the Central Saint Martins’ degree shows in the Granary Complex, The Big Dance and Eurostar’s Traction, curated by DJ Gilles Peterson which will take place in Granary Square (see timetable on page 4 for more information).

Architect Robert Townshend, from Townshend Landscape Architects, said:

“We wanted to create a sustainable public space, a knitted-in piece of London, one in which people feel comfortable whether relaxing or playing. Granary Square will attract and be enjoyed by local people, students and visitors from all walks of life.”

Sir David Clementi, Chairman of King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, said:

“This in an historic day for King’s Cross and for everyone involved in the 67 acre development. King’s Boulevard, opened last September, now brings people from two stunning stations into the heart of King’s Cross – Granary Square – which sits beside the canal and in front of the wonderful Granary Building, now beautifully restored for Central Saint Martins.

“Granary Square will join London’s other famous squares in the long line of great public spaces in our capital. It is a square for everyone whether they are local residents, other Londoners or visitors and is a new place to meet, relax and have fun.”

David Partridge, Joint Chief Executive of Argent, said:

“This is the first in a series of ten major public spaces and places we are creating as part of the 67 acre King’s Cross development, of which 40% will be public space. It represents the heart of the site and is very much a reflection of our vision to create a human piece of city here at King’s Cross.

“The theme of our first series of events in Granary Square this year is Summer Stories. These are inspired by the book King’s Cross Stories, which we published a few months ago and tells the many fascinating tales about this amazing part of London.

“The Summer Stories programme consists of over a dozen events through to October, when we will end the season with an exciting extravaganza.”

Sarah Hayward, the Leader of Camden Council and a ward councillor for King’s Cross, said:

“Over recent months I have watched the King’s Cross development come alive, which is really exciting. I am delighted that this square will be accessible to everyone to meet, have fun and enjoy central London.

“It will also very soon be a place to live, with the first block of affordable homes for let and sale at King’s Cross Central to be available imminently. Our partners, One Housing Group will be providing seventy-eight new flats available for social rent, as well as fifteen supported housing units and twenty-four shared ownership properties in the new ‘Rubicon’ building, developed by the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership.

“This really shows how by working in partnership we can deliver real and lasting improvements to the borough making it a great place to both live and do business”.

Our website uses ‘cookies’ to give you the best, most relevant experience. If you continue without changing your settings we’ll assume you are happy to receive cookies on our website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time.