Upon completion in 2016, the redevelopment of Midland Goods Shed will create an innovative new focal point for King’s Cross Central, within the heritage core of one of London’s most dramatically changing neighbourhoods.
Bennetts Associates’ 6,000 m2 scheme imaginatively converts historic railway structures to contain a unique mix of uses: a 2,089 m2 Waitrose concept supermarket, a 224 m2 cookery school and 2,580 m2 of flexible events spaces that are intended to link arts and media organisations (approximate areas).
Dating from 1850, the building started life as a temporary passenger terminal while King’s Cross station was being built and was later converted to a goods shed. The East and West Handyside Canopies were added in 1888 to provide covered space for the transfer of potatoes, fish and other perishable goods from rail to horse and cart.
Today it sits as part of the Grade II listed Granary Complex within the Regent’s Canal Conservation Area to the north of the King’s Cross Central development. Next to University of the Arts London and the main north-south pedestrian thoroughfare, it is one of the last heritage buildings on the site to be brought back to life.
The scheme preserves the building’s varied and idiosyncratic Victorian character of robust brickwork, thundering cast iron structures, cavernous spaces, delicate roof trusses and the majestic sweep of the Eastern Handyside Canopy. New insertions such as enclosure of the latter and connection of the two main levels act as an appropriate contemporary counterpoint and allow the building to be occupied. A new roof at first floor level preserves the volume but introduces new courtyard gardens to add light and amenity. The mix and type of uses will allow the public to experience the dramatic sequence of spaces within for the very first time.
Waitrose’s distinctive brand values are reflected by emphasising architectural quality as part of the retail experience. The store’s ground floor occupies two radically different spaces and has the potential to spill out into the adjacent West Handyside Canopy for covered markets and food festivals. The cookery school will provide a complementary education and leisure resource, whilst the remainder of the building will become an exciting venue for a visionary new cultural institution, augmenting the Learning Quarter taking shape at King’s Cross.