Carmody Groarke Create the King’s Cross Filling Station

Posted: Monday 16th July 2012

Having set out to create a strong ‘sense of place’ in an area of central London that is going through great change, King’s Cross has been working with Carmody Groarke on their latest project at the 67-acre development. An architectural identity has been created for the King’s Cross Filling Station, previously a disused petrol station on a part of the site adjacent to York Way and the Regent’s Canal.

A robust concept has been developed by Office of Change, whereby the King’s Cross Filling Station will encompass a semi-permanent structure, a restaurant and social space, and an engaging cultural arts programme, re-using the existing building and canopy forecourt. The restaurant is set to open 24 May, and the forecourt in mid-June, while the cultural arts programme will commence towards the end of June.

A 200m long x 4m high transparent and curvaceous fibreglass enclosure, sets the King’s Cross Filling Station apart from the busy road along York Way, where sweeping curved walls create a sequence of spaces leading to the canal-side. While providing definition to the rooms both inside and out, the fibreglass walls of the site will be illuminated from behind their surface at night, and in doing so, create a landmark quality. By day sunlight shines through the translucent screens forming shadows that partly reveal the activity concealed behind.

Viewed from all sides, the main enclosure defines a large ‘hall’ beneath the station canopy overlooking the canal. The design is not so much about maximising the area, rather to create spaces that are more attractive and comfortable to guests in relation to the views and in the context of the site. The existing canopy from the disused petrol station forecourt creates a covered outside space that extends the possibilities of the restaurant and planned cultural programming.

Crucial to the project’s inception is that this is a semi-permanent building, that will exist for two years, before new homes are built on the site as part of the King’s Cross development. The issue of life span has informed the way in which Carmody Groarke have approached the build; reusing the existing canopy, shop and site services is critical to its viability. The structure for the enclosure is constructed from scaffolding and fibreglass cladding modules that can be recycled at the end of the project.

Carmody Groarke are also transforming the existing petrol station kiosk, into a new restaurant, which will have 50 covers, and is arranged around a kitchen, and central bar and dining area. The project brings a new social and cultural venue to King’s Cross overlooking the Regent’s Canal.

Kevin Carmody of Carmody Groarke says of their latest project: “Through creative re-use and adaptation of the existing canal-side structures, we have set out to create a strong ‘sense of place’ for this part of King’s Cross, with the installation of semi-permanent architectural interventions, allowing the site to transform into a destination for cultural events and a unique dining experience.”

David Partridge, from King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership says: “It has been great to work with Office of Change, and Carmody Groarke, an innovative and young practice, to bring this part of the development to life. We were keen to find an imaginative interim use for the petrol station site and the extraordinary design they have produced has surpassed our expectations alongside a really interesting programme for the building. The King’s Cross Filling Station is sure to become a great food destination as well as an exciting cultural and social space for the next two years, and will make a big contribution to the new piece of the city which we are creating here.”

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