diamond geezer

 Friday, July 12, 2013

King's Cross stories: Across the Buildings

Walk north from King's Cross station, along two-year-old King's Boulevard, and a new neighbourhood is arising. I swear those office blocks weren't there the last time I walked this way, but now there are a couple of latticed skeletons rising several floors behind the barriers. This is St Pancras Square, a semi-public piazza surrounded by six major office buildings, numbered with some lack of excitement from One to Six. One St Pancras Square has been rebranded the 'Gridiron', I guess because that sounds heritage-evocative, but the reality will be rather less exciting. Google are setting up a London HQ on the (whole of the) other side of the street, although that's not gone up yet and should be complete by 2016. The street's busy enough though, with students from Central St Martins and office workers from the existing King's Cross North, plus a fairly regular dash of street food vans.

A jagged stripe of silver has been stuck across the walls of Central St Martins and adjacent buildings around Granary Square. It may not make visual sense, but it's not meant to unless you see it from the right position, and that's several feet above the ground. Look to the corner of the road by the canal and you'll see a viewing platform (called 'Viewing Platform') consisting of some steps around a couple of metal containers. Climb up and there's a great view of the surrounding area, and also of that jagged stripe. From up here the geometric shapes stuck to various buildings line up to make a whole, and if you stand in exactly the right place they join up perfectly. You can judge that by trying to fit the silver shapes on the lampposts in the foreground into the right spot to fit the gaps in the background. It's a very clever trick of perspective and will make you smile if you get it right... but it's only here until October.

Also temporary is the view across St Pancras Square towards the two stations, the BT Tower and the City. As the building site rises these new offices will start to conceal the London skyline beyond, and this'll become just another office block and cappuccino quarter where tens of thousands come to work. Nip in quick to see the prequel, and to enjoy Felice Varini's "dazzling ensemble of geometric forms" across the buildings.

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