Camden is to get a new park and public square, opening in King’s Cross early next year. The big new spaces, as yet unnamed, have been designed to facilitate a wide range of activities and uses: the square will have the infrastructure in place for markets, concerts and cinema, while the park is designed as a new ‘lawn’ for London.
40% of King’s Cross is “public realm” – open spaces managed for people’s enjoyment; the square and park are located just behind the Granary Building at the heart of the King’s Cross neighbourhood. The park will be the largest green space at King’s Cross, a natural “lung” between office and residential buildings, and together with the square form a completely new access route from Regent’s Canal to York Way, N1C.
Running from the historic Coal Drops parallel to Stable Street, the square is 78m x 49m at its largest point. It has been designed by internationally-acclaimed landscape architect Laurie Olin, known for his work on the new US Embassy building and Bishopsgate in London, to be a westerly sun-trap. Olin has given it a chevron stone pattern, seating areas enclosed by planting, and 50 arced jets of water forming pools on the eastern side, which add to the variety of fountains at King’s Cross. The space will be able to host up to 2,250 people at events.
The new park is the creation of Townshend Landscape Architects, the designers behind Granary Square, as well as More London and Carter Lane Gardens beside St Paul’s Cathedral. 136m x 40m at its widest, its design is inspired by the relaxed grassy lawns of London’s garden squares, such as those in Bloomsbury. Gently mounded lawns flow through the park, subtly dividing the park into smaller spaces. An avenue of London Plane trees extends along the eastern side of the park and the square, creating a visual link up towards York Way.
Anthony Peter, Project Director at Argent (KCCLP), says, “One of the best things about King’s Cross is seeing people using the public spaces – whether it’s having lunch with friends, playing with their families, or just relaxing. We can’t wait for these new spaces to open.”
Laurie Olin, founder of OLIN, says, “Long off the mental map of Londoners, this new district above the Regent’s Canal will become a vibrant part of the city, and at its heart will be these two attractive and contrasting public spaces.”
Robert Townshend, Townshend Landscape Architects, says, “We have put people at the heart of the design and think that these new public spaces will be fantastic places for all who use them.”
Both park and square will open in early 2015.