Google Kings Cross

Exploration of the engagement potential of a changing high street for a tech giant

Google’s new home, a city block in size and a city street in length, has a significant impact on the emerging King’s Cross neighbourhood. Against the backdrop this 19 hectare King’s Cross site (including retail destination Coal Drops Yard), the large scale regeneration of Kings Cross, the changing London landscape and an ailing High Street, Google needed both stimulus and challenge in approaching the impact of their new headquarters as it meets the street. The building, designed by Heatherwick Studio and Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), will have the potential to house 7,000 Google employees.

Recognising the social responsibility they held due to the scale of their presence, Forth was tasked by Google with exploring alternative models for the 17 retail units which face onto King’s Boulevard.

Working across a complex stakeholder group, concepts demonstrated the potential to integrate community use, social purpose and sustainable operational models for a new kind of high street presence for the tech brand.

The best way to transform an urban area, and to improve the lives around it with facilities and investment, is for commercial development to take the lead, while working closely with local authorities and communities.
Rowan Moore, Observer, 2014

Project details

Year: 2018 – 2019
Client: Google
Team: Dee Halligan, Daniel Charny, Chloe Bird and Veronica Simpson.