In 2008 we were approached by developers to consider the conversion of two derelict buildings into offices near King’s Cross, London. The buildings, separated by a cobbled courtyard, date from the 1860s and were originally stables serving the Midland Railway Company. English Heritage declared the properties ‘not listable’, although they are still considered to make a valuable contribution to the Conservation Area.
A sensitive approach is required to bring these buildings back into use and prevent further damage to the existing fabric. Several architectural elements are retained in memory of the site’s railway heritage, including reinstating bricked-up windows, retaining and repairing sills, arches and lintels. A new, lightweight circulation core links the front and rear buildings and provides level access to different floors, allowing congruity between the inside and outside as well as a solution to circulation problems. The external areas are enhanced, including repairing and relaying the cobbles and reinstating the original historic entrance to the courtyard.
Our design celebrates the historic industrial use of the site without overwhelming the existing stable buildings. The proposals would increase pedestrian movement and reinforce the wider regeneration of the area.