A new 90m long pedestrian tunnel with LED integrated lightwall will open at King’s Cross at the end of June. The tunnel has been designed by Allies & Morrison and will link St Pancras International and King’s Cross St Pancras Underground stations to King’s Cross’ public spaces, restaurants, offices and homes, via One Pancras Square.
The tunnel’s entrance is in the north-east corner of the One Pancras Square building, accessed via an escalator hall designed by David Chipperfield Architects. It then follows a consistent curve leading to the tail end, accommodating a changing slope, into the two stations. The design of the tunnel is broken into four distinct sections, each with its own conceptual idea: the canopy, the fin section, the floor, and the integrated lightwall, which has been designed by Speirs +Major, with technical delivery by The Light Lab. The inside of the tunnel is lined with repeating panels; the fin sections fill the triangular space between the canopies, allowing stylish and easy access to the service area above, and shaped as ‘mini auditoria’ to focus attention towards the art-wall. The flooring echoes this, with ceramic tiles spread across the floor in a large triangular pattern, in two shades to create a subtle texture.
The lightwall, one of Europe’s longest, is the main focus of the tunnel and is made up of LED lights. To enable an effect of seamless lighting running the length of the tunnel, the lights have been manufactured and installed behind a jointed glass wall. The LED lights themselves are capable of emanating the full RGB spectrum and also a white light spectrum from 3.0K to 6.0K, creating a subtle and beautiful moving light show with no shadow lines.
During its opening months, the wall will have a dedicated light artwork on display. The piece, called Pipette, has been created by Miriam Sleeman (The Cross Kings) and Tom Sloan (Tom Sloan Design) and is designed to evoke the colourful tapestry of King’s Cross through a tranquil yet animated design. The piece has been created with the commuter’s day-to-day experience in mind and to work in harmony with the tunnel’s architecture.
Commenting on the design of the King’s Cross tunnel, Graham Morrison, Partner at Allies & Morrison Architects, said:
“We have enjoyed the challenge of this project; being able to work so closely with Speirs + Major, The Light Lab and Cross Kings/Tom Sloan Design on this project has allowed us to create something which shows off its individual elements, but also highlights the art-wall as the main feature.”
Phil Sullivan, Project Director at Argent (Asset Manager for KCCLP), said:
“We’re extremely pleased that we have been able to create a new transport connection which is visually exciting as well as practical. Our work at King’s Cross is about creating experiences across the site, and we felt the same should be true for this tunnel.”
Commenting from HS1 Ltd – owners of St Pancras International station – Commercial Director, Wendy Spinks said:
“At St Pancras International, we have always believed that art and design inspires people – a belief which is behind the station’s public art space, Terrace Wires. As the area around St Pancras and King’s Cross regenerates, it is building a culture of creativity and the new integrated art-wall is another great example of this.”
The tunnel will open at the end of June and will be open to pedestrians from Monday-Sunday, 7am until 8pm.
Partners on the project included BAM and Gardiner + Theobald.