Knowledge Networks: London and the Ox-Cam Arc
At the centre of the Knowledge Quarter on Euston Road opposite King’s Cross and St. Pancras stations in Camden, Belgrove House is proposed as a new specialised office and laboratory building for the life-sciences sector. Subject to planning permission, it has been designed for occupiers that undertake globally significant research and wish to collaborate within one of the largest clusters of knowledge-based businesses in the world. Access Storage (part of the Precis Group) has traded successfully from the building for over 15 years.
The proposed scheme respects the nationally significant historic station buildings and responds to the engineering achievements of these in an area of strong character and striking contrasts. Its configuration emerges from a clear, legible arrangement of uses on the site. Life-sciences research laboratories can be located on the largest floorplates at floors 1-3, providing animation to the facades and a public window. HQ style offices can be located on floors 5-9. The 4th floor can serve as a dedicated ‘collaboration hub’.
A generous ground floor provides occupant and public access via the main entrance on Euston Road into a reception and exhibition space. A new step-free entrance to the Underground is proposed linking the building into King’s Cross/ St. Pancras via a new connection at lower-ground floor to the pedestrian tunnel beneath Euston Road. From Argyle Square a publicly-accessible entrance into a café and event, meeting and education space is proposed, animating the square and giving access into a lower-ground floor auditorium.
The design and engineering processes have been informed by the requirements of life-sciences building tenants including increased floor to floor heights to accommodate greater MEP zones, increased vibration resistance within the structure and larger column grids.
It is designed to be highly sustainable and an example of how carbon emissions may be reduced in construction, operation, and future refurbishment.
- I nnovative ventilation strategies and highly efficient systems lead to a substantial reduction in anticipated carbon emissions.
- Externally expressed risers provide air distribution and solar-shading to facades, reducing heat gains and a ‘biophilic’ double-skin facade can provide views through planting
- The scheme is targeting BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ and LEED ‘Gold’, as well as benchmarking the LETI targets and the WELL standard.
The public realm strategy proposes improvements such as new planting and trees within an urban greening design methodology. External terraces at levels four and five can create outdoor amenity space for occupants and a distinct identity when viewed from surrounding areas.
‘This is to be a building at the heart of Camden, the Knowledge Quarter, and London. It is an exciting opportunity to add to the historic importance of the area, which has always been dynamic and is now London’s centre of industry and innovation We hope that our proposal starts an industry conversation about the future direction of the design, flexibility and sustainability of life science building programmes; offers new spatial opportunities for research, collaboration and innovation amongst science and technology organisations; and, importantly, inspires local people in Camden, and especially young people,
by giving them access to this incubator of ideas and exemplar of design.’
Faaiza Lalji, Director, Planning and Development, Precis Advisory/ Access Self Storage
Simon Allford, Director, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects