Cadence is a landmark mixed-use building within the King’s Cross Central Masterplan, one of Europe’s largest urban regeneration projects. With its unique position framing the axis of Lewis Cubitt Park and its idiosyncratic arched language, this quietly flamboyant ‘courtyard tower’ celebrates the concept of threshold while reinforcing King’s Cross sense of place. Comprising 100 dwellings and 50 affordable apartments above two stories of commercial, social and service spaces, Cadence is recognized as one of King’s Cross most memorable buildings and a demonstration project for offsite manufacturing techniques.
A six-sided perimeter block from which two towers of 12 and 16 storeys emerge, Cadence acts as a civic frame for its adjacent public spaces. Its animated silhouette and vibrant red brick signal a new threshold to the King’s Cross neighbourhood from the north. ‘Unfolding’ to respond to its axial Park frontage, the building’s stepped form maximises corner units and access to nature on its multiple public and private roof terraces.
Our central architectural and urban gesture is the building’s arched base and top, executed in the deep orange brick of St Pancras Station. Reinterpreting the locality’s famous 19th Century arches with contemporary Bezier curves at a variety of heights and widths the building appears animated, sitting lightly upon its urban landscape. Our architectural composition is choreographic, with arches characterizing the building’s base and upper stories in a three-dimensional picturesque sequence. The building thus reveals itself through this series of vignettes, first as glimpses and then experienced spatially and materially.
To create a memorable journey for residents and visitors the Foyer is enlivened by a cross-vault and arches that lead to the building’s heart; a central colonnaded courtyard and serene reflecting pool. Overlooked by the resident’s community room, this tranquil space and stepped pool is intended to evoke not only the tectonic qualities of King’s Cross and its historic canals, but also the atmosphere of Roman cisterns and Venetian fondamenta. The courtyard colonnade leads residents to the building’s east and west residential cores.
This project was Designed for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) and constructed utilising advanced prefabrication techniques including precast columns, Delta Beams, floor slabs, cores, stairs, and façade panels. Prefabrication significantly reduced construction site waste, carbon generated from vehicle journeys and the construction timeframe while improving thermal and acoustic performance of the building envelope and overall quality control – unifying building craft and digital technology. Operational carbon is reduced through its efficient building services and King’s Cross’ low-carbon District Energy supply. Sustainable not only in its energy performance, Cadence’ very high ceilings, generous public spaces and robust concrete frame will allow the building to adapt to changing uses over time.