Client:Argent Group Plc.
Team:Engineering: Peter Brett Associates
Water Feature Consultants: The Fountain Workshop
Lighting Consultants: Speirs + Major
GRANARY SQUARE, KING'S CROSSCentral to the King's Cross master plan, Granary Square is the largest of the public spaces on the site, roughly equal in size to Trafalgar Square. This open space is adjacent to the historically listed Granary building, originally designed by Lewis Cubitt in 1852, and was once the historic location of a canal basin used by canal boats to moor and to unload their goods. The building has now been refurbished by Stanton Williams Architects and is home to the University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins.
Granary Square was envisaged to be an active heart to the site, a pivot point into which people crossing over the canal from the south will arrive before dispersing to the north and east. Even with a large proportion of the overall site yet to be developed, it has become an exciting and popular new destination for London, winning a Camden Planning Award for best new public space in 2014.
Opened in June 2012, Granary Square has already played host to music festivals, Traction and Africa Express, an ice cream festival, hosted a large screen for sport events and a flower display for the Chelsea Fringe.
At the centre of the square are 4 impressive banks of fountains, which contain over 1080 individual jets, making it one of the largest water features in Europe. The location of the water feature reflects the historic canal basin and the alignment and scale of each of the 4 banks of jets directly responding to the facade of the Cubitt Building. The design of the water feature was developed with the Fountain Workshop and has the capacity to allow the jets to be programmed individually so that movement can be created across the square and temporary spaces and routes can be formed as required. All or individual banks can be turned off so that the space can be utilised for other activities and events. The paving under each of the 4 banks has been very subtly dished so that they may each be flooded with a film of water to create reflective pools. The water feature also has a misting ability designed to float above the ground.
There are some historic features within the Square that have been retained. These include a number of crane bases which originally held the cranes used to winch goods up from canal boats within the basin. There are also a number of train tracks and turntables which have been lifted, cleaned and returned. The tracks are picked out in the surface finishes by reused granite setts which have been laid between them.
Originally the working yards were all surfaced with granite setts. Over time many of these were removed but those that remained have been lifted and cleaned and will be reused in a number of locations across the site. The Square has been paved very simply in Porphyry paving, the colour of which has been carefully specified to reflect the original colour palette of the granite sett paving.