Coal Drops Yard

 Thomas Heatherwick explains his thinking behind the design of the soon-to-open Coal Drops Yard shopping centre, in this video filmed in King's Cross, London.

Heatherwick Studio is combining two 19th century buildings that were once used for storing coal into a canal-side shopping destination, which is due to open next month.


This video shows Heatherwick walking from his studio, which has been based in King's Cross for 17 years, to the new development, as he explains how the building's design came about.

"As a local person I was thinking what's missing, how do you do something that is really particular to here?" Heatherwick says in the video.

Heatherwick Studio's design for the Coal Drops Yard merges the two existing buildings by curving the two gabled roofs towards each other.

"Our breakthrough, in a way, was realising that we grow those [roofs], grow them together, because the roofs needed replacing," says Heatherwick. "And in replacing the roofs we could fuse those roofs together, as if it heals into a heart."

In the film Lisa Finlay, group leader at Heatherwick Studio, further explains the thinking behind the connection between the two 19th century buildings.

She says that the elements structures was integrated into the historic buildings without adding any additional load to the them.


"These two historic structures were never originally designed for people to circulate through and by themselves would have never made a successful retail destination if we did nothing more than clean them and fill them with shops," said Heatherwick.

"The distance between them being too great to have any social chemistry with each other and only two stories of activity would not create enough busy-ness and vitality."