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Kings Place
Kings Place from York Way
Address
90, York Way
City
Country  United Kingdom
Designation Grade A Commercial
Architect Dixon Jones
Capacity Hall 1: 420 seats
Hall 2: 220 seats
Type Classical / Contemporary music, Arts / Cultural venue, Spoken Word, commercial office space, restaurant
Opened 2008
www.kingsplace.co.uk
Kings Place concert hall terrace

Kings Place is a building in London’s Kings Cross area, providing music and visual arts venues combined with seven floors of office space, now home to The Guardian newspaper. Kings Place is also the London base office of Logica, the global IT and management consultancy company.

Kings Place is first and foremost a music and visual arts venue, with a range of facilities ideal for performance, exhibition and education. The music, arts and restaurant areas are arranged around public spaces which form a central hub to the building. The arts facilities include free access to a range of art galleries.

Secondly, as a grade A commercial development providing 26,000 sq m of office space, Kings Place has achieved the adaptability to attract, among others, The Guardian and The Observer newspapers, Logica and Network Rail.

Kings Place houses the first new public concert hall to be built in central London since the completion of the Barbican Concert hall over 25 years ago in 1982 (Cadogan Hall and LSO St Luke's were adapted from old buildings in that period).

Contents

Origins

According to its Director, Peter Milican, the concept of Kings Place was "to create an architecturally inspiring mixed-use development which, without recourse to public capital funding, would deliver a major new arts centre next to King’s Cross/ St Pancras and offer something to the local community".[1] Construction on the site began in 2005 and was completed in summer 2008; the opening festival started on the 1st October 2008.[2]

Location

Kings place sits on the east side of York Way, just 150 metres from King’s Cross/St Pancras train stations. King’s Cross is now the biggest transport hub in Europe. On its eastern side the building overlooks Battlebridge Basin on the Regent's Canal which is also home to many residential boats and the London Canal Museum on the opposite side of the water.

In late 2008 the building became the home for The Guardian and The Observer newspapers. Two orchestras; the London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment also reside within Kings Place and regularly perform there. Central St Martins, one of the art colleges within the University of the Arts, will bring a major visual arts community into the Area from mid-2011, when it moves into Argent’s 67-acre King’s Cross central development.

Architectural Philosophy

Following a limited architectural competition, Dixon Jones was appointed as the architect for Kings Place. The brief was complex and subtle: it was to be a large building of far higher quality than the normal spec office development. The building had to be durable, not only in terms of quality of the build materials, but in its design. It had to be spatially generous and environmentally impeccable. Most importantly, it had to fit into a local urban architecture which is not uniform in scale.

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Hall One

Hall One, the main concert hall is a building within a building – a box that sits on rubber springs to give it complete acoustic separation from the rest of the building.

It is built to the regular shoebox geometry – a double cube – that is considered most successful for small concert halls. Structural columns around the hall are set away from the walls to allow curtains to be drawn between the columns and the walls to modify the acoustic for speech or amplified music.

Acoustics

The architecture of Hall one emerged from a collaboration between Dixon Jones and Arup’s acousticians. As part of the research that preceded the design, the developer, the architects, the engineers and the project manager visited Japan to look in detail at a dozen concert halls. The aim was to differentiate very precisely between a variety of modern concert halls and to examine what solution would best meet the requirements of Kings Place. Next a computer model of the proposed Kings Place auditorium was made. This was tested against computer models of the Concertgebouw, the Wigmore and several other halls. In this way it was possible to optimise the design for Hall One before construction began.

Oak veneer

The oak veneer inside hall One has come from the same 500-year old German oak tree. After felling the wood was cut into 5-metre lengths and boiled at 80 degree C for one week, then sliced. The tree has produced an acre of superb veneer. It has been used in Hall one to cover the panels, columns, roof coffers, the back of seats, the doors, and the desks.

Features

The wavy glass runs along the west-facing York Way frontage; the three-layered glass façade is a free-standing transparent surface made up of hundreds of very slightly curved sheets of glass. As well as reducing heat gain from the afternoon sun, the glass wall provides Kings Place with a distinctive public face.

Facilities

  • Hall 1 – 420-seat concert hall with fixed seating
  • Hall 2 – flexible performance and rehearsal space (seats audience of 220 or 330 standing)
  • St Pancras Room – auditorium for speech, seating 100
  • Three rehearsal break-out spaces:
    • Limehouse Room
    • Wenlock Room
    • Horsfall Room
  • Recording and broadcasting facilities
  • Two general dressing rooms
  • Teaching room
  • Office space and headquarters for London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
  • The Music base – shared office space with desks for small music organisations
  • Pangolin London:
    • Sculpture gallery

Food and Drink

The Rotunda Restaurant spans the area of the building facing Regent’s Canal and Battlebridge Basin. The Rotunda Bar features a curved bar that mirrors the shape of the building. The Green & Fortune Café is housed in the central atrium of the building on the ground floor level.

Offices

All seven levels above ground at Kings Place are commercial office space. From some angles Kings Place can be seen as four joined but separate structures. This breaking down of the mass of the building was critical to the planners and has allowed light and a sense of openness to penetrate to basement level.

Thanks to a series of linking bridges, however, each of the upper floors is experienced by the office user as a very large contiguous plate.

Outreach Programme

Kings Place is committed to promoting discovery of the arts in its surrounding boroughs of Islington and Camden. Kings Place outreach program works in three areas: Education, Community Engagement and Participation and Family. Music and arts organisations resident and performing at Kings Place offer educational classes, workshops, opportunities for participation in performances as well as family events. Past events and projects have included family drumming workshops and professional development sessions with the London Sinfonietta and their visiting musicians from the Ugandan Dance Academy and a visual arts project with local schools and the Visual Learning Foundation using the construction of the building as inspiration.

References

External links

Coordinates: 51°32′06″N 0°07′19″W / 51.5349°N 0.1219°W / 51.5349; -0.1219


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