4 Pancras Square, London

Time-tested materials for a modern workspace

The impressive steel frame of 4 Pancras Square rises at the head of this distinctive London space – actually a triangle rather than a square – which has been cleverly moulded into the ‘V’ between Kings Cross and St Pancras Stations. The building epitomises the regeneration of the area: a sympathetic fusion of old and new. But its deceptively simple form hides high-tech design features and award winning sustainability solutions.

The long-term redevelopment of the area North of London’s Kings Cross Station is one of the biggest and most impressive feats of regeneration in the capital’s history.

Sprawling across 67 acres, the site includes numerous historic buildings – many of them dramatically restored and repurposed for the C21 – as well as new constructions that have to sit comfortably alongside the old, while avoiding pastiche and visual clichés.

4 Pancras Square epitomises that creative coalition. A distinctive, exposed steel frame forms the structure of the building, while white glazed ceramics provide horizontal brise soleil shading.

The use of steel reflects the industrial heritage of the site, while ceramics were commonly used in the C19 in response to the dirty city environment. Within the first few years of its life, the building’s corten steel exo-skeleton will weather to a mellow, rusty texture.

Project details

  • Client: Argent LLP
  • Main Contractor: BAM Construction
  • Architect: Eric Parry Architects
  • Structural Engineer: BAM Design, AKT II
  • Services Engineering: BAM Services Engineering
  • Completed date: 2017

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1,900 Fact icon tonnes of steel used in construction
27m Fact icon facade uninterrupted by supporting columns
BREEAM Fact icon award category winner in 2018
Four Pancras Square has stunning views across Regent’s Canal to Granary Square and St Pancras Clock Tower.

The building – the new London home of global entertainment giant Universal Music – provides 170,000 sq ft of office accommodation over ten floors, with retail at street level and basements below. Its imposing structure dominates Pancras Square, reflected in the cascading pools at the heart of this part of the redevelopment.

The top floor features a rooftop garden with a landscaped terrace, planting beds and water features.

“The (Kings Cross redevelopment) site is the perfect mix of grittiness and shininess, simultaneously a symbol of London’s industrial and engineering past and the creative present.”

Edwin Heathcote

Financial Times

Creating character and function in steel

The first thing you notice about 4 Pancras Square is the steel. The unapologetic box-form structure is softened by its russet colouring, which will only continue to develop more texture and character as the building mellows and matures.  

In practical terms, a key feature of the steelwork is a Vierendeel truss encircling the first floor of the building which has created a huge, uninterrupted space at ground level facing into Pancras Square: a great asset for the retail units when it comes to attracting customers into their doors.

“The main function of the steel (Vierendeel) truss is to create a 27m-long column-free façade along the building’s main entrance elevation, that not only overlooks the public realm but forms an important architectural ‘open letterbox’ between the building and the outdoor area.”

Mike Hayes

BAM Design

Award winning sustainability credentials

With a BREEAM Outstanding score of 88.1, 4 Pancras Square won the 2018 BREEAM Award for the best Commercial Project – Post-Construction. According to the judges, the building “provides an exemplary demonstration of the value of feedback loops in design and procurement. This inherently complex project has been taken through a process of learning from earlier projects to push the boundaries further forward and upward.”

The building features a range of energy efficient systems and approaches including building orientation, solar shading, thermal mass for cooling, passive ventilation and a link to the site-wide district heating network.