Edinburgh's Gateway to London
Architecture alumnus John McAslan has always thought big. His projects have included everything from the British Embassy in Algiers, to the historic Stanislavsky Factory in Moscow.
It is as if he is powered by one of the new Energy Centres that his practice, John McAslan + Partners, designed for the 2012 London Olympics.
King’s Cross is no exception. The £547m redevelopment is the biggest transformation in the 160-year history of the station. It was officially opened by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, on 19 March 2012 but only now is this enormously complex project nearing completion. The public transport calm of Christmas Day marked the moment when the demolition of the unloved 1973 concourse began - the final phase of development which will give the station a new public square.
Designing for the 21st century and beyond
The challenge of the project was to design a major transport hub for the 21st century that could accommodate in excess of 100,000 people moving between the two mainline stations and the six underground lines that comprise King's Cross St. Pancras. Key to this has been the creation of a new semi-circular departures concourse.
The show-piece is clearly the Western Concourse – one of Europe’s largest single span station structures and the heart of the development, but the overall project is far more complex: an extraordinary, collaborative effort that has delivered an internationally significant transport interchange, fit for the 21st century and beyond.
Beyond the trains
King's Cross station opened in 1852 as the London hub of the Great Northern Railway serving Yorkshire, the north-east of England and Scotland. Designed by Lewis Cubitt the station was, until now, perhaps better known via the trains associated with it, from the Flying Scotsman and the Mallard to, more recently, the Hogwarts Express. But given the scale and significance of what John has achieved with the restoration of Edinburgh’s London rail hub, even Harry Potter cannot eclipse the achievements of this graduate.
John McAslan CBE was born in Glasgow in 1954. He was educated at Edinburgh University, obtaining a MA in Architecture in 1977 and Diploma in 1978, along with the Diploma year prize. He trained in Boston USA with Cambridge Seven Associates before joining Richard Rogers and Partners in 1980. He formed John McAslan + Partners in 1996.
He has received in excess of 75 international design awards, including 15 RIBA National and International Awards.