Service: Planning & Development | Sector: Life Sciences
To design a new specialised office and laboratory HQ building for the life sciences sector that respects the listed King’s Cross and St Pancras stations and responds to the engineering achievements of these in an area of strong character and striking contrasts.
With the Government’s ambition to reinforce the UK and London as a global centre for research and technological advances and Camden Council’s ambitions for a successful Knowledge Quarter, the client’s brief was to design a highly sustainable building, which directly improves the lives of local communities – economically, socially, and environmentally.
Working with AHMM Architects, we led a comprehensive engagement strategy with officers, GLA, TfL, Historic England, as well as politicians, key stakeholders, and local community. At ten storeys, its configuration emerges from a clear, legible arrangement of uses on the site with life sciences research laboratories at the lower levels and HQ offices above.
Key was to design an exemplar building that complements and respects the listed stations while bringing forward significant public benefits alongside it. Directly opposite King’s Cross Underground Station, the opportunity was taken to provide a new step-free entrance to the station as well as public realm improvements along Euston Road and around the site.
A publicly accessible café, auditorium space and educational space for the community is also proposed. Sustainability has been based on circular economy principles including a whole life carbon assessment with the latest technologies used in relation energy use in the building.
Also, a ‘biophilic’ double-skin façade to the office floors provides views through planting to the city, adding to the biodiversity and urban greening credentials of the building.
Camden Council has resolved to grant permission for a circa 26,000 sq m office and laboratory building that will become MSD’s UK Discovery Research and HQ subject to a S106 Agreement. This has been endorsed by the Mayor of London.
The scheme will deliver a substantial package of public benefits at the planning, construction and end user phases. By supporting increased access to jobs, skills, training and education opportunities, the scheme maximises social value throughout the whole development process, reducing inequalities and increasing life chances in neighbouring communities and the borough generally.
As further demonstration of the environmental credentials, the scheme is targeting BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ and LEED ‘Gold’, as well as benchmarking the LETI targets.