coal drops yard: heatherwick-designed retail destination takes shape in london

coal drops yard: heatherwick-designed retail destination takes shape in london

‘coal drops yard’, a new retail destination first revealed in 2015, is taking shape ahead of its public opening in autumn 2018. situated next to regent’s canal, and near london’s kings cross station, the development comprises 65 units of varying sizes that will accommodate a wide range of shops, cafés, bars, and restaurants. the project has been conceived by the studio of thomas heatherwick, whose scheme embraces a historic site that dates back to the mid-19th century.



timelapse video showing the site under construction
video by john sturrock



heatherwick studio’s design involves connecting two historic structures through extending and stitching together their respective roof canopies. this gesture also provides shelter for the spaces below, forming a new type of active public space for the city. the remainder of coal drops yard’s brick viaducts, ironwork, and cobbled streets will provide an atmospheric backdrop, with the site’s victorian buildings completely restored and re-purposed.

coal drops yard: heatherwick-designed retail destination takes shape in london
the roof canopies of two historic structures will be stitched together



‘coal drops yard was immediately fascinating to work on because the site is so unusual,’ explains thomas heatherwick. ‘this pair of long victorian brick viaduct buildings were like vast chocolate kit kat fingers held apart at an angle, not conforming to conventional ideas of how retail is set out. this gave the project exciting new possibilities. our solution uses the inherent eccentricities of the original viaduct structures to transform them into a vibrant new place for london.’

coal drops yard: heatherwick-designed retail destination takes shape in london
the development comprises 65 units of varying sizes



‘iconic king’s cross is already known as a central london location, a prime residential area and an established foodie destination, and it is now adding retail with coal drops yard,’ says craig white, project director at argent — the development firm behind coal drops yard. ‘heatherwick studio has created a design for coal drops yard that captures all the drama of the historic architecture and setting — reimagining, accentuating and enriching it.’

coal drops yard: heatherwick-designed retail destination takes shape in london
the intervention provides shelter and forms a new type of public space



‘the result is a unique and wonderfully atmospheric canvas for retailers; a vibrant new shopping destination for london set to welcome up to 20 million visitors a year,’ continues argent’s craig white. ‘each will be able to enjoy a hand-picked selection of the best in fashion, design, homeware and lifestyle when it opens to the public in autumn 2018.’

coal drops yard: heatherwick-designed retail destination takes shape in london
the scheme embraces the historic site, which dates back to the mid-19th century





    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    504,299 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample
    designboom magazine