The new western concourse at King’s Cross is causing a stir among press and public alike.
The 1,300 tonne steel dome ranks among the largest single-span station structures in Europe.
Says Architect John McAslan, ‘The challenge was: How do we take this historic and cramped station and enlarge it for the future? It might not be perceived as what one may regard as a cultural project, but I think we’ve given it sense (of being) a project for people.’
The light metal and glass allows natural light to flood in across the concourse, which is three times bigger than the soon to close southern concourse. Around the outer edge of the new concourse is a mezzanine floor, which houses food stalls and cafés.
During construction the dome, which is 20 metres high at its apex and 150 metres long, had to be supported by over 400 tonnes of scaffolding, as the design of the dome meant it was not rigid enough to support itself until it was structurally complete.
Later this year work will commence on sweeping away the southern concourse, which, when it was erected in the 1970s, was only meant to be a stop gap measure. A new public square will be created.
The £550m scheme marks the completion of yet another key transport upgrade for the London Olympics.
It takes the total investment in transport infrastructure in the King’s Cross area in the last ten years up to £2.5bn.