Prior to its £550m transformation, King’s Cross Station’s façade was marred by a mid-70s extension that was home to a modest retail offer. The extension’s welcome removal in 2006 left the station’s retailers in need of new accommodation. As Project Architect and Project Director, Lyndon Goode Architects’ Founding Director Simon Goode led a team of 40 architects for John McAslan + Partners from 2006, and was Project Lead when LGA was appointed to the King’s Cross project in January 2012.
The commercially astute decision was made to locate retailers on the mezzanine level of the famous dome-roofed Western Concourse. In the original plans, the mezzanine had been ear-marked for offices, but he convinced Network Rail that this prominent location was more appropriate for retail. A raised walkway takes shoppers straight from the mezzanine shops to their platforms – an easy stop on the passenger journey. Today, King’s Cross Station’s retail offer complements that at neighbouring St. Pancras rather than sitting in its shadow.
Before the new masterplan, retail units at King’s Cross were cluttered with signage and services. Simon designed and promoted a solution integrating wayfinding, public address, alarm systems, CCTV, advertising and small power into totems. This cost-effective, sleek and flexible design solution has since been adopted for other Network Rail projects. The totems allow the commercial units to communicate their brands and retail offers unencumbered by other messaging.
The curved bulkheads for the mezzanine level retail units were prefabricated off site. Simon led the GRIP 5 design and supported the bulkhead manufacturer, including with a strategy for applying millions of white ceramic tiles.
One of Simon’s key roles included liaising with numerous stakeholder groups, including Network Rail’s commercial team, to prepare a design code for the retail elements. He also worked closely with the tenants, including Leon, Pret and Marks & Spencer on coordinating services within their units, as well as assisting with Listed Building submissions.
Published widely, the project is acknowledged as setting a new benchmark for transport architecture and interchange design. Accolades include the 2013 London Transport Award for Rail Station of the Year and the 2012 Network Rail Partnership Awards for Best Large Project.