Coal Drops Yard, King's Cross,
London, UK

The unique historical character of Coal Drops Yard required an equally individual approach to the illumination. Rich in shadow play, contrast, and texture, the lighting sensitively re-interprets the heritage of the listed former goods yard buildings, contributing to a unique experience for visitors after dark.
Heatherwick Studio
M&E Engineer
Hoare Lea
Wayfinding + Graphics
Holmes Wood
John Sturrock
Project Team
Mark Major, Philip Rose, Hiroto Toyoda

Our starting point on this project was to refer back to the King’s Cross Masterplan we developed and have overseen on behalf of our client Argent over the last 13 years. One of its central tenets was that any architectural lighting should focus on celebrating the heritage of this former industrial area.

Our masterplan also seeks to be highly sustainable by using lower levels of illumination to save energy and minimise the risk of over-illumination and light pollution in this mixed used district. We also developed the scheme to minimise the impact of such a major retail development after dark for local residents in the Gasholders.

One of the bolder design decisions we made was not to attempt to over-light the facades but to internally illuminate the entry thresholds to help draw people into the scheme.”

At Coal Drops Yard we had a fantastic opportunity to use light to express the rhythmic, repetitive nature of the railway architecture and the textural qualities of the fine brickwork. We were fortunate to have very early involvement and a highly collaborative relationship with Heatherwick which allowed us to integrate the light fully within the design approach.