Built in 1850 to receive coal for London as it arrived by rail from the North of England, the two-storey brick and cast-iron structures were later adapted for light industry, storage and nightclubs until they fell into disuse by the late 1990s.
The studio’s design opens up the area to the public, linking the long viaducts and the yard between them to create a space for people to enjoy. Rather than making a box element colliding with the geometry of the existing roofs, the gabled roof of each building rises up and stretches towards the other, meeting to form a new upper storey that gives the project a central focus.
This glazed space provides an unexpected elevated viewpoint over London, while the sheltered double-height space beneath creates a heart to the development that can also host concerts and performances.
At the same time as creating the new elements to the projects, Heatherwick Studio lead a sensitive restoration of the Victorian structures and cobbled yard to preserve their historic character while adapting them to create an unusual mix of retail and café space.
The outcome is a dynamic new public space for London designed for known companies, emerging brands and newly graduated students from the adjacent Central Saint Martin’s Art School.
Photo credits: Hufton + Crow, Luke Hayes