Kings Cross R5

Saxon Court, Roseberry Mansion and Fenman House: Two towers integrated in a city block of four buildings. R5 was one of the first residential buildings delivered within the King’s Cross masterplan in central London.

R5 sits at a key entry point into central London when coming from Camden. Like a face on shoulders towers developing to sixteen storeys sit on a clear datum height of eight storeys.

When the building was designed in 2008 the context had been stripped bare ready for development. There was little to relate to, particularly at the intended scale, other than the abstract masterplan.  Therefore our architectural expression aimed to refer to buildings, which could have been here before, but also introduced the higher density, which was to come: a King’s Cross warehouse crossed with the civic-ness of a Chicago building of the late 19th century.

Addressing Multiple Contexts

The three main buildings address four very different environments: a large park to the west, a small garden square to the south and York Way, a main road, to the north. To the east is a quiet neighbourhood road towards which we adjusted the scale and placed a small two-storey building. It is like a house, a leftover memory of what might have been on the site before redevelopment.

The outer facades rest on deep pink concrete frames and are a layered pattern of windows surrounded by vertical brick pilasters, horizontal concrete banding and basket weave glazed brick spandrel panels. The inner facades are lighter and flatter with balconies projecting into a garden courtyard. Gardens for residents are placed on roof terraces and within the courtyard. A colonnade around the courtyard mediates the height of the buildings with the scale of the garden.

The buildings contain 240 apartments of different tenures and Roseberry Mansion provides assisted living for older people. Restaurants, offices and cafés occupy the ground floors and are specifically to animate all corners of the block.

Client: King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, Argent
Size: 220 units, 0.47ha
Location: King’s Cross, London
Photography and video: Tim Crocker