Weatherproofing illustrated wrap
As much of the restoration work was done to the façade and roof, we needed a building wrap solution that would weatherproof the building and keep the public safe from the risk of falling objects.
We worked closely with developer Argent to design a permanent ‘mural’ to wrap around the building and enhance Battle Bridge Square and the entrance to the King’s Cross Central development.
The giant mural was designed by artist Gregori Saavedra and is one of the largest illustrations to be rendered on a building wrap. The vast 790m2 artwork is inspired by the transformation of King's Cross and depicts some of the new landmarks and features of the neighbourhood.
We had to adapt the existing scaffold, designed for fly-away monoflex, to secure the huge piece of art safely. We also coordinated permissions and planning for an IRATA-qualified team of four to abseil down the scaffold to secure the mural. For a time this transformed the building site into a piece of public art.
Raising the roof
The most impressive part of the German Gym is its original bolt laminated timber arch roof, which has survived more than 150 years of history at King’s Cross.
The roof was hidden from view on the ground floor by the post WW1 installation of the first floor until recently but we removed the floor, allowing the unique Victorian laminated roof timber trusses to be viewed in all their glory from the ground floor.
The main exercise hall was a grand and elegant space with a floor to ceiling height of 57ft. Long forgotten sports were practised here, including Indian club swinging and broadsword practice. When it was first used as a gymnasium, ropes used to hang down from cast iron hooks attached to the trusses for gymnasts to climb up and rig their equipment.
We wanted to preserve as much of the original brickwork as possible so we carefully removed six rows of bricks that made up the roof to check how structurally sound they were. We found it tangled with roots and failing mortar, so we rebuilt seven courses of intricate detailing, using traditional brickwork techniques to fit with the heritage of the building.
We also reinstated the slate roof, added roof insulation, cleaned, repaired, painted and replaced the frames in the original windows, and even rebuilt some of the dormers, which give the façade its distinctive look.