London's 19th Century Train Station Injects a 21st Century Design

London's King's Cross train station's western concourse showcases a 140-meter wide canopy, the largest single-span station structure in Europe. New technology like solar cells and old infrastructure blend together to enhance the station.
August 9, 2011, 1pm PDT | Kristopher Fortin
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Jay Merrick of The Independent reflects on his tour with John McAslan of John McAslan + Partners, the firm that designed the King's Cross western concourse.

"The elegant concourse – the key element of Network Rail's £400m modernisation of the station – marks not only its main approach, but the threshold of the £2bn King's Cross Central regeneration zone north of the station, where 67 acres of brownfield land is being redeveloped to create offices, retail and thousands of new homes."

"Standing on the parapet of the station's main façade, above the two vast train-shed vaults designed by Lewis Cubitt in 1852, the relationship between old and new is striking: solar cells crown the train-sheds; a few feet away, a restoration specialist re-points Cubitt's bricks with lime mortar; and, up a steep, narrow staircase in the station's central tower, we enter a musty room with a grimy clock mechanism worthy of Heath Robinson. Below us, in a space the size of a grand Victorian ballroom that will become the new ticket hall, the clunkily ornate original iron wall brackets are being cleaned."

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Published on Friday, August 5, 2011 in The Independent (UK)
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