The association for the manufacturers of architectural cladding and structural precast concrete


Case Studies ›

Part of a two million square feet cluster of 12 office buildings south of Regent’s Canal, the recently completed 2 St Pancras Square – designed by international architects Allies and Morrison with BAM as main contractor  – is an island building offering 130,000 sq ft over nine floors with superb views over London from the upper floors and roof terraces. The building meets the BREEAM Outstanding standard and is linked to the site-wide district heating network, which will provide 100% of the development’s heating and hot water needs. It has been designed to maximise the environmental benefits of its location, with orientation, solar shading, the use of thermal mass for cooling and passive ventilation systems all contributing to energy efficiency.


The focus for energy efficiency and sustainability at King’s Cross is the on-site Energy Centre with its Combined Heat and Power Plant (CHP). Two huge, gas-powered Jenbacher engines generate electricity, while the heat from the engines is captured and used to provide heating and hot water for the development. Each building at King’s Cross is connected to the Energy Centre through a hot-water distribution network. This is a very energy efficient way to heat the buildings and it means that there will be no need for conventional boilers in the buildings themselves. The district heating network at King’s Cross is one of the biggest in the country.


This low carbon supply of power and heat, combined with cleverly designed, energy-efficient buildings such as 2 St Pancras Square helps to make King’s Cross one of the most sustainable developments in the UK. Other renewable technologies such as solar panels, ground source heat pumps and solar thermal systems are also being used, the aim being to reduce carbon emissions by at least 50% relative to 2005 levels.


For Techrete, who supplied and installed the precast concrete panels, the unusual feature of the project was that, rather than forming the waterproof facade, most of the panels were applied as a rain screen. This meant that the company had to work from mast climbers but, on the plus side, this allowed the facade to be closed off with curtain walling as the structure went up for a faster overall build programme. This led to close integration with the facade contractor and tighter tolerances than would normally be found in precast works.


Architecturally, the immediate impression – as with many similar buildings – is of mullions and spandrels but a closer inspection reveals that the mullions decrease in width as they go up the building and at the same time the window is set back further which creates deeper reveals and greater solar shading.  To minimise staining on the face of the work, the top surface of the spandrels falls back to the window where a discreet channel guides water to a hidden gully in the mullions to collect rainwater for recycling. The concrete mix includes Spanish dolomite aggregate for a sparkle to complement the gold window reveals.


With its terraced water feature and outdoor seating, Pancras Square is the perfect place for a business breakfast, al fresco lunch, or after-work drinks, while a short walk takes you to the boutique shopping and eating around Granary Square and Regent’s Canal.

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British Precast Architectural and Structural, part of British Precast.                                                                                                                                                              

British Precast is the trade association for the precast concrete industry                                                                                 E-mail:

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