Arriving at St Pancras International or at Kings Cross Station as a Non-Londoner, you discover the architecture and the beauty of these stations. And then, you take the tube, without thinking more. The Kings Cross neighbourhood, however, is extraordinary and has been one of the most important rehabilitations in Europe. Expected to be completed in 2022, you can already clearly feel the atmosphere by walking around its spacious squares and pedestrian streets just a few meters away from the train stations.
It is a pharaonic project that has transformed 27 hectares of vacant lots and abandoned industrial buildings into a lively site, with work and leisure on a human scale. The changes have rehabilitated some of the industrial buildings of the Victorian period dedicated to the trade of coal, cereals, fish and gas. They also built and are building 50 new office buildings (Louis Vuitton, ArtFund, The Guardian and even the Google headquarters).
My school, Central Saint Martins, moved in the Granary Building 5 years ago, in the centre of the neighbourhood. The students organise numerous exhibitions throughout the year. Don't hesitate to go take a look at the Lethaby gallery and the part of the school you can access.
King's Boulevard which leads from the stations to Granary Square is now pedestrian. And even if you'll come across some cars on Goods Way, they'll be the only ones. Unbelievable but true, no parking was built in the basement while in the long term, 45,000 people will live, work or study at Kings Cross.
Go to The Granary Square, the heart of the neighbourhood and you'll quickly understand what it's all about. In front of the Granary Building, the huge square is filled with fountains, trees, and welcoming chairs. The restaurants and cafes offer large terraces. A few meters away, the Canalside Steps form a giant staircase made of false grass, to relax, work (free wifi everywhere) and enjoy the bucolic view of Regent's Canal.
A little further on, the SkipGarden is a communal garden that provides organic fruits and vegetables to local restaurants. A real place of poetry and boho in the urban jungle! A bar-restaurant is integrated. They even have a yurt and a house only made of windows!