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The historic Coal Drops Yard in central London has seen many uses over the centuries. Today it’s set to become an integral part of the wider King’s Cross redevelopment as a unique new shopping destination. The area’s cobbled streets and Victorian brick arches will house boutiques, restaurants, galleries, music venues and bars, alongside new public squares.
Our work on the redevelopment of the yard focused on providing flexible shell and core services in order that the building could be adapted to meet future retail trends. The scheme ‘peels’ the site’s existing pitched roofs together to create a new flagship anchor retail unit, with event spaces in the centre.
As such, the key challenges for us were to enable this flexibility, seamlessly integrate the site-wide services, and retain the listed building fabric. Our approach included concealing ventilation paths within a historic façade and existing chimneys. Our Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling showed that we could introduce wind-mitigation measures to ensure pedestrian comfort, and we validated the analysis using a scale model in a wind tunnel.
Our Fire Engineering experts also used CFD to better understand the smoke ventilation requirements. The team established that this multi-level retail space with just one protected stair could be made fully fire safe without requiring sprinkler protection. The bespoke fire strategy developed allowed for an independent fire alarm system within each retail unit, making Coal Drops Yard a truly safe, stylish shopping destination once complete.