Canal Corridor, King’s Cross: History and Biodiversity

Architects: Townshend Landscape Architects
Location: Kings Cross, London, United Kingdom
Category: Park
Other participants: King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, Bell Phillips Architects, Dan Pearson Studio, Arup (Triplets) and Peter Brett Associates (PBA), Hoare Lea, Peter Brett Associates (PBA) (Arup Triplets), Gardiner & Theobald, Carillion (Triplets and GH8), BAM (Viaduct), BAM Nuttall (Ghat Steps & Granary Square), Kier (Wharf Road), Applied Landscape Design (ALD), Maylim, Willerby Landscapes, Miller Druck, SH Structures, Little Hampton Welding
Area: 20900.0 m2
Project Year: 2017
Photographs John Sturrock
Manufacturers: Streetlife, Addagrip, Kinley, Miller Druck, Biotecture

KX in Bloom, 35,000 flowers on the steps between Granary square and the canal at King’s Cross

The Canal Corridor is a series of interlocking spaces along the Regent’s Canal extending through the historic core of the King’s Cross development, connecting Maiden Lane Bridge at York Way to the east and the railway bridge accessing St Pancras Station to the west. The corridor was conceived as part of the site wide masterplan to open the King’s Cross development to the canal with a series of active public spaces; breaking through the boundary wall to reconnect the canal and knit in with its surrounding neighbourhoods and bring in the diverse communities of the area. The King’s Cross masterplan is the development of a 67-acre brownfield site of which 40% is public realm.

The Regents Canal divides the site into two areas and allows for the main east/west link across the development. The towpath is on the north side of the canal and is approximately 3m below ground level. Camley Street Natural Park is located on the south side of the canal adjacent to the development boundary and is a green haven in a bustling part of London close to the two mainline stations. 

The design respects the history of the site, enhances biodiversity and provides inclusive access to the towpath and the new public squares and gardens along the canal. Two new pedestrian/cycle bridges have been installed over the canal to improve east/west connections between Camden and Islington. 

canal corridor
The Regents Canal and Bagley’s Walk at King’s Cross

The Canal Corridor benefits from excellent, predominantly south facing, views of the canal and has become a natural focus for active and passive recreation at KX. Part of its attraction is the abundance and variety of places to sit and the richness of the planting, providing habitats for wildlife with a long period of flowering and seasonal colour. The quality of the planting has been enriched through the designs of Chelsea-award winner Dan Pearson, bringing his international skills within reach of local people and visitors alike. To achieve consistency the sequence of spaces has been brought together under the guidance of TLA as landscape master planners for KX and they have also been responsible for much of the detailed design.

Canal Corridor
A sunny lunchtime in Wharf Road Gardens, King’s Cross

The Canal Corridor aims to celebrate the architectural heritage whilst improving access and re-establishing its importance as a route and a focus for biodiversity. The corridor has the most open aspect of anywhere at King’s Cross and its south facing location means that the corridor receives sun throughout the day.

The scheme brings sustained social and environmental benefits to the King’s Cross area and supports London as an international exemplar of how regeneration can respond to aspirations for a greener and healthier city. 

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