Architecture

Heatherwick Studio raises the roof on London shopping center

Heatherwick Studio raises the ...
In a nice touch, the 80,000 slate tiles that top Coal Drops Yard's roof were drawn from the same slate quarry in North Wales that were used on the original 1850s buildings
In a nice touch, the 80,000 slate tiles that top Coal Drops Yard's roof were drawn from the same slate quarry in North Wales that were used on the original 1850s buildings
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Coal Drops Yard's uppermost floor features panoramic views
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Coal Drops Yard's uppermost floor features panoramic views
64 panels of full-height structural glass are arranged in a staggered, serrated pattern in Coal Drops Yard's uppermost floor
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64 panels of full-height structural glass are arranged in a staggered, serrated pattern in Coal Drops Yard's uppermost floor
Construction on Coal Drops Yard began in 2016 and involved reinventing two ornate old iron and brick railway buildings into a new shopping district comprising 60 retail units
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Construction on Coal Drops Yard began in 2016 and involved reinventing two ornate old iron and brick railway buildings into a new shopping district comprising 60 retail units
"The design extends the inner gabled roofs of the warehouses to link the two viaducts and define the yard, as well as creating fluid patterns of circulation," says Heatherwick Studio
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"The design extends the inner gabled roofs of the warehouses to link the two viaducts and define the yard, as well as creating fluid patterns of circulation," says Heatherwick Studio
Coal Drops Yard links the two buildings as well as two viaducts on the site with massive new roofs
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Coal Drops Yard links the two buildings as well as two viaducts on the site with massive new roofs
Coal Drops Yard's two roof sections meet in the middle 
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Coal Drops Yard's two roof sections meet in the middle 
"The flowing roofs, supported by an entirely new and highly technical freestanding structure interlaced within the heritage fabric, rise up and stretch towards each other until they touch," says Heatherwick Studio
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"The flowing roofs, supported by an entirely new and highly technical freestanding structure interlaced within the heritage fabric, rise up and stretch towards each other until they touch," says Heatherwick Studio
Coal Drops Yard's protruding roof sections create a covered space
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Coal Drops Yard's protruding roof sections create a covered space
Coal Drops Yard's extension is supported by 52 steel columns, which were threaded through the old buildings
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Coal Drops Yard's extension is supported by 52 steel columns, which were threaded through the old buildings
Heatherwick Studio has done a stellar job of joining old with new
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Heatherwick Studio has done a stellar job of joining old with new
Coal Drops Yard is located in Kings Cross, London
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Coal Drops Yard is located in Kings Cross, London
In a nice touch, the 80,000 slate tiles that top Coal Drops Yard's roof were drawn from the same slate quarry in North Wales that were used on the original 1850s buildings
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In a nice touch, the 80,000 slate tiles that top Coal Drops Yard's roof were drawn from the same slate quarry in North Wales that were used on the original 1850s buildings

Heatherwick Studio has done a stellar job melding old and new with its latest project, Coal Drops Yard. The firm turned two dilapidated Victorian-era coal storage buildings in London into a large new shopping center crowned by a stunning roof structure.

Coal Drops Yard is centered around two ornate iron and brick railway buildings dating back to around the 1850s. The buildings were originally used to store coal delivered from northern England, which was then transferred around London by barge and horse-drawn cart. Over the years, the buildings were variously used for warehousing and as nightclubs, before becoming partially derelict in the 1990s.

Heatherwick's design extends the two buildings and two viaducts also on the site with massive new roofs that project outwards and meet in mid-air. The large roofs create additional retail space, as well as a covered outdoor area below. Elsewhere, the shopping center includes restaurants, bars, and cafes.

Coal Drops Yard links the two buildings as well as two viaducts on the site with massive new roofs
Coal Drops Yard links the two buildings as well as two viaducts on the site with massive new roofs

"The design extends the inner gabled roofs of the warehouses to link the two viaducts and define the yard, as well as creating fluid patterns of circulation," says the firm. "The flowing roofs, supported by an entirely new and highly technical freestanding structure interlaced within the heritage fabric, rise up and stretch towards each other until they touch. This forms an entirely new floating upper story, a large covered outdoor space and a central focus for the entire site."

The graceful appearance of the roofs belie their complexity. They feature a support structure comprising 52 steel columns, which were concealed behind old brick and iron. The curved roof sections are made from a steel framework and, in a nice touch, the 80,000 slate tiles that cover the roofs were drawn from the same slate quarry in North Wales used when constructing the original buildings over 150 years ago.

Additionally, a total of 64 panels of structural glass are arranged in a serrated pattern ensure panoramic views from the top floors.

64 panels of full-height structural glass are arranged in a staggered, serrated pattern in Coal Drops Yard's uppermost floor
64 panels of full-height structural glass are arranged in a staggered, serrated pattern in Coal Drops Yard's uppermost floor

Coal Drops Yard is Thomas Heatherwick's first project in his native London (Garden Bridge would have been another). It won't be his last though, and his firm is also collaborating with Bjarke Ingels Group to design Google's new HQ, the "landscraper," in the capital.

Source: Heatherwick Studio

3 comments
PeterBrandt
Heatherwick Coal yards development is Brilliant !
Nelson Hyde Chick
Why build a new shopping center when they are dying?
J Scott
Really beautiful re-use of historic structures that need re-purposing. More than a "shopping center" - it's a community center, bringing people together. Lucky neighborhood!