The Art Fund to move HQ to King’s Cross

Posted: Wednesday 13th March 2013
  • The Art Fund agrees a deal to move its headquarters from South Kensington to King’s Cross, in 2014
  • A distinctive office building from the 1850s will be sensitively adapted by architects John McAslan + Partners, creating characterful yet contemporary new offices and gallery space
  • The Art Fund will complement and enhance the existing rich cultural mix at King’s Cross

The Art Fund, the national fundraising charity that helps museums and galleries buy and show works of art, has signed a long lease with the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP), to move its headquarters to a restored building at the development site.

The charity has acquired a 999-year lease on the building and will relocate its staff to 6,600 sq ft on the upper two floors in early 2014.

The Art Fund has been working closely with King’s Cross and the architects John McAslan + Partners on the design of the building to ensure it reflects the aspirations for a characterful yet contemporary office space on the first and second floors of the building, with 3,300 sq ft of flexible space on the ground floor which will be rented out, if an appropriate tenant is found, as gallery space.

The Art Fund will join an existing and growing cultural hub in King’s Cross which already includes the British Library, Wellcome Collection, Kings Place and Gagosian Gallery.

Richard Meier, Partner at Argent, Asset Manager for KCCLP, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome the Art Fund to King’s Cross and look forward to its contribution to the increasingly rich cultural mix here. This national charity will complement and enhance the existing thriving arts and cultural scene in the area, including many museums, galleries and arts venues and of course the University of the Arts London, in the Granary Building. Their move will also see the sensitive restoration of another treasured building at King’s Cross in the historic heart of the development.”

Since 1994 the Art Fund has had their headquarters in Millais House, in South Kensington and the move to King’s Cross, with its exceptional transport connections, will mean its staff have easy access to the country’s museums and collections.

Dr Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “We are really excited about our move to the King’s Cross development in early 2014. The new office space will provide a brilliant environment to support our work in both fundraising for the UK’s museums and galleries, and in helping the public to enjoy them through the National Art Pass.”

The building, currently known as ‘Regeneration House’ was designed by Lewis Cubitt in 1850 while King’s Cross Station was being developed as the London terminus of the Great Northern Railway and served as railway offices for over a century.

Architect John McAslan said: “This is a remarkable opportunity to reinvigorate a building by Cubitt – the project forms a natural companion piece to our work on the King’s Cross Station. It offers remarkable volumes and is flooded with natural light – typical of Cubitt’s forward-thinking design. Our sensitive transformation will bring Cubitt’s building firmly into the 21st century – an example of adaptive re-use that characterises much of the regeneration at King’s Cross.”

The building, originally conceived as the nerve-centre of the original King’s Cross Goods Yard, suffered extensive bomb damage during World War II and was refurbished in the 1980s by the London Regeneration Consortium when it was given its current name. It is currently being used as a site office with meeting rooms for the King’s Cross development.

Located off York Way and part of the Regent’s Canal Conservation Area, the building occupies a prominent location overlooking the Regent’s Canal and alongside other important heritage buildings at King’s Cross which have or will soon be restored including the Grade II listed Granary Complex (home to the University of the Arts London), East and West Handyside Canopies and the Midland Goods Shed.

Sensitive changes to the exterior of the building will preserve as much of the historic fabric as possible and enhance its contribution to the surrounding area. Later unsympathetic external additions will be removed while the original brickwork will be lightly cleaned and repaired. The renovation includes the insertion of a new lift, a dramatic atrium connecting the upper floors and the provision of open place office spaces and informal meeting areas.

The ground floor will be a flexible office or gallery space, while the basement will house educational workshops, cycle parking, a shower and a kitchen.

A reserved matters application for the refurbishment and re-use of the building was unanimously approved by Camden Council in November 2012.

The construction contract has been awarded to Carillion. Work is starting now and is due to be completed by the end of 2013; the Art Fund plan to move in by early 2014.

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