Once the canopy is gone, Lewis Cubbitt’s Grade I listed Victorian station façade will be revealed for the first time in 150 years and London’s newest public space – King’s Cross Square – will emerge.
Network Rail describes the canopy as ‘one of the capital’s longest surviving temporary buildings’. Its removal marks the start of the final phase of the biggest transformation in station’s 160-year history, with the new square – designed by architects Stanton Williams – due to open in autumn 2013.
At more than 7,000 square metres, King’s Cross Square will be 50% bigger than Leicester Square and will open up views across to St Pancras International.
Network Rail programme manager Matt Tolan said: ‘We’re finally removing a building that’s almost universally unloved, restoring the station to its full architectural glory and creating a modern station fit for the future that gives passengers and the local community a huge new space to enjoy. With the completion of the final phase of King’s Cross station’s redevelopment, we aim to bring a bit of the grandness and old-world charm of Europe’s city-centre railway stations right to the heart of 21st century London.”
Murphy senior project manager Patrick Shaw added: “We’re excited to begin work on the imaginatively designed square which deftly resolves several complicated challenges. Delivering a scheme at a station which handles 47m passengers per year requires a carefully considered approach to passenger flow management. We have deployed innovative methods and placed the station users at the heart of the planning in order to ensure safe and easily navigable access, in particular, to and from rail and underground platforms.”
The final phase of works follows the opening of the glass and steel western concourse in March, providing three-times more space for passengers than the old concourse, with improved links to both the London Underground network and St Pancras International station.