Townshend Landscape Architects: Located between King’s Cross Station and St Pancras International railway station, Pancras Square forms part of the 72 acre King’s Cross redevelopment. The master plan, a collaboration by Allies and Morrison Architects, Porphyrios Associates and Townshend Landscape Architects, for the King’s Cross site represents one of the most exciting and significant development and regeneration opportunities within the UK where over 40% of the land area has been allocated as public open space.
Pancras Square is a new urban square around which seven new office buildings have been located. The 4,000m2 ‘outdoor room’ has a strong sense of place and has been designed to provide respite from the surrounding city, with areas of lawn, lush planting and a cascading water feature. Primarily accessed from the gateway space of Battle Bridge Place and marked by a majestic Pin Oak tree, the layout accommodates spaces and routes that allow a range of activities for all users, as well as providing attractive access to building entrances, and inclusive, useable sub-spaces for relaxing. As a centre piece to the square, a tiered water feature in Caithness stone that gently cascades downhill emphasising the change in level and providing sound and movement. The water cascades are punctuated by tranquil light-reflecting pools along its route. The juxtaposition between the pools and planting has been designed so that the view from the top of the square looking south is over tranquil light reflecting pools, while the view of the water feature to the north looks like a series of dynamic cascades. A variety of tree species introduce scale and filter views, which combined with hedges, planting and lawn area provide an attractive green environment. Seating has been located to edges of the water feature and lawn areas, allowing plenty of places to relax and enjoy the ambiance of the Square.
The spatial arrangement of the landscape elements has been designed to frame the principal view towards the St Pancras Chambers Clock Tower to the South. Herbaceous plant mixes with occasional specimen shrubs have been used between sculptural clipped hedges. This allows for subtle and regular displays of colour at different times of the year as well as evergreen structure. The planting includes flowering bulbs early on in the year, spring flowering Cherry trees and scented Viburnums, abundant herbaceous flowers during the English summer months, followed by the autumn glow of leaves on Liquidambar styraciflua and Cercidiphillum japonicum and with the softer hues of flowering grasses. The scheme is further enhanced by water lilies in the reflective pools and fish in the upper pool.
At the southern end marking the entrance to the square, off Battlebridge Place, a large Pin Oak tree, Quercus palustris, has been planted, one of 400 trees to be planted across the site. This exceptional and majestic tree was planted in Autumn 2014, is 12m high and 63 years old. Pancras Square opened to the public early in 2015.
Project: Pancras Square
Landscape Architect: Townshend Landscape Architects
Design Team Leader: Robert Townshend, Martha Alker, Andrea Dates
Fountain Designer: The Fountain Workshop
Location: Pancras Square, King’s Cross, London, UK
Commissioned by: King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership
Area: 0.4 ha