Announcing that Google will delay moving into its new King’s Cross HQ from 2016 to 2017 to enable them to design a more ambitious building Joe Borrett, Head of Real Estate and Construction at Google, said in Tuesday’s Telegraph:
“We have a great plan for the new building at Kings Cross, but we want to challenge ourselves to do something even better for Google, Kings Cross and for the local community.”
This is great news for King’s Cross. On publication of Google’s original plans reaction from the local community was less than enthusiastic, comments included “How bland is it possible to be?”, “The brick wall looks a lot more interesting” and “One of the wealthiest companies on the planet. A chance to make a statement about their goals, and to grant a legacy to the area which will live on for a long time. Something imaginative and inspiring, a creative vision for the future. And what do we get? An identikit flatpack building with all the character of an industrial estate. How depressing.”.
Google’s rethink is a fantastic opportunity for the company whose reputation, following the big corporate tax scandal, is in need of some tender loving care.
Local activists have been pressing for a bridge across the immediate rear of King’s Cross station in response to the lack of permeability in the N1C King’s Cross Central road plan. We have called for Network Rail, Argent and now Google to replace the 1874 bridge with a cutting edge design for pedestrians and cyclists to complete a walking/cycle route from the Angel to Marylebone avoiding the notoriously busy and poisonous A501 ring road.
Network Rail refused to fund the bridge despite the fact that it would have cost a tiny proportion of their budget to refurbish the station, and less than the amount they overspent including designing plush new offices for themselves.
For Google, building a pedestrian/cycle bridge on the site of the original 1874 bridge would pay dividends resulting in the company forever being credited with creating links where divides currently exist.