When Thomas Heatherwick released the first image of his concept for Coal Drops Yard at Kings Cross in late 2015, we knew the area was about to get something really special. And with works in the Argent-led central London territory progressing fast since, the landscape around the old warehouses that will become its home have started to take shape.
Occupying a mix of what was previously a neglected complex of storage and industrial buildings parallel to Central St Martins, many of which remained empty for years, the Coal Drops Yard was conceived as the area’s brand new retail hub.
Set to provide a much needed market element to the fast-growing neighbourhood, Heatherwick’s proposal is sensitive to its historical context of low brick buildings and arches, restoring original elements where and when needed. And yet, it doesn’t lack ambition. A set of new roofs appear ‘kissing’ where two parallel rows of brick structures meet, providing the complex with its signature architectural gesture.
The tenants will be a vibrant and carefully selected mix of independent retailers and well known brands, as well as amenities that will make this hub truly come alive, developing organically into an essential part of its quarter. Offerings will include restaurants, bars and cafes, and a new public area, sitting at the project’s heart.
And while Coal Drops Yard won’t be ready for shoppers until 2018, Kings Cross visitors can now get a taste of what spending more leisure time in the area will feel like. Everyman Cinemas, set to open an outpost at the base of Kings Cross' R7 building in 2017, has just opened a pop-up screen on the base of the David Morley-designed Plimsoll Building, right around the corner from the future retail complex’s site. Everyman on the Corner, designed by Fusion DNA, is now open for business.