5 Pancras Square, Camden Council’s new community building, is opened

Posted: Friday 11th July 2014

5 Pancras Square, the innovative new community building for the London Borough of Camden, opens to the public on Saturday 19 July 2014. The largest building to be completed so far in the southern ‘quarter’ of King’s Cross, 5 Pancras Square provides new public leisure facilities for local residents and visitors to the London Borough of Camden.

Located on an outward-facing site in Pancras Square – the new setting for some of King’s Cross’ major commercial buildings – the 14-storey building incorporates exemplary new accommodation for a leisure centre, swimming pool, library, café and Contact Camden customer services centre, plus administrative offices for Camden Council staff.

The project has been developed by King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP) for Camden Council.

Designed by leading architectural practice Bennetts Associates, 5 Pancras Square’s cube-like form was shaped by the volumetric limits of the King’s Cross masterplan, and the building’s location at the junction of Pancras Road and Goods Way. Each façade has been treated differently to reflect its orientation and surroundings. The lower public areas are expressed as a long-spanning concrete structure, whereas the upper administrative floors are characterised by bronze-anodised solar shading, punctuated by deeply recessed balconies that animate both interior and exterior and give the building a kinetic quality.

Internally, the robust 20,404m2 (GEA) building is planned around a sequence of striking day lit spaces that provide a unique combination of public and office facilities, and a welcoming and stimulating environment for both visitors and staff.

The triple-height lobby of the street-level public entrance on Pancras Road provides direct access to the building’s leisure facilities, which are spread across the lower two floors (lower ground and basement), with a highly visible swimming pool and gym at its base.

The upper ground level administrative entrance in Pancras Square provides direct access to the Council’s customer services centre, library and double-height café, in addition to the ten floors of dedicated office space above. An impressive full-height atrium and central staircase act as a visual focus for the workplace and allow daylight to flood in, whilst a series of cut outs in the north and west façades provide terraces with exceptional views north over the Camley Street Natural Park, the Eurostar terminal and Camden beyond.

Robert Evans, Partner, Argent (Asset Manager at King’s Cross), said:

“We are proud to deliver this elegant, highly sustainable building for Camden, which will be used by a whole range of people including some 2,340 office workers, local residents and leisure users. 5 Pancras Square is the latest example of high quality, mixed development at King’s Cross and its facilities cement its reputation as a place to work and live.”

Peter Fisher, Director at Bennetts Associates, said:

“With 5 Pancras Square we sought to create an exemplary civic building that is uplifting, spatially diverse and enduring while also being economically efficient and pushing the boundaries of sustainability on a constrained urban site.”

5 Pancras Square is on track to achieve one of the highest BREEAM ratings yet achieved for a building of its type in the UK. This has been achieved through a robust and simple design based on a combination of passive and active design features. This includes exposing the thermal mass of the concrete structure, angled cladding and low glazing ratios to give solar shading and control solar gain, maximising daylight to the centre of the building and an energy-efficient hybrid ventilation system. The building is also linked to a site-wide district heating network, which provides 100% of the development’s heating and hot water needs.

Bringing the majority of Camden Council office-based staff to one site, 5 Pancras Square enables the Council to deliver better, more efficient public services and achieve important cost savings. Through selling old inefficient accommodation and moving to the new site, the Council will cut carbon emissions by an estimated 64%. Based on current energy costs this would lead to projected annual savings of more than £500,000.

Cllr Theo Blackwell, Cabinet Member for Finance and Technology, said:

“5 Pancras Square is a fantastic new public services hub for Camden as well as being one of the greenest public buildings in the UK.

The building will allow us to make a massive leap forward in how we work efficiently and cost-effectively as a Council to deliver services to residents.

This project was funded by a major reorganisation and sale of old office buildings across the borough. This raised money for the build, saving money on future repair bills and reflecting the smaller size of the council due to austerity cuts. Where the council has sold offices we have ensured 50% affordable homes across our sites, adding another 200 affordable homes.”

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