Meta office reception, 11-21 Canal Reach, King's Cross. © Gehry Partners/TP Bennetts (fit-out design) ISG (fit-out construction)
The office, 11-21 Canal Reach, is King’s Cross Estate’s largest office building with capacity for 4,000 Meta employees. The arrival of Meta represents a major milestone and is the start of an expanding presence for the company at King’s Cross.
London is already Meta’s largest engineering hub outside the US and will soon occupy more than 620,000 sq ft of commercial space across the King’s Cross neighbourhood when it takes occupation of 10 Lewis Cubitt Square later in the spring, providing up to 5,000 workstations for its staff in total.
With 425,000 sq ft of grade-A office space, 11-21 Canal Reach is one of the lowest embodied carbon buildings on the estate per sq ft. Designed by architects Bennetts Associates, together with Ramboll as structural and civil engineers and BAM Construct UK as main contractor, the two buildings feature landscaped roof gardens and terraces with uninterrupted views over central London, promoting employee wellbeing as well as local biodiversity.
Tom Shaw, Director at Ramboll, said: “The high-quality sustainable outcomes achieved at 11-21 Canal Reach is a testament to the whole project team who have worked meticulously to design and engineer this development. From passive design principles to embodied and operational carbon and biodiversity, the team has left no stone unturned in ensuring it delivers for the long-term benefit of those who use it, operate it and the wider environment.”
Sustainability has been prioritised throughout the design and construction of the Meta workspaces. Connected to the King’s Cross District Energy Network, powered by 100% renewable energy sources, they benefit from zero carbon heating, hot water, and cooling. King’s Cross announced that it had become carbon neutral in November 2021.
Providing structural, geotechnical, and civil engineering design services, Ramboll contributed to the project achieving an overall embodied carbon value of 705kg CO2e/m2, 36% lower than the current industry average and making significant strides towards the RIBA 2025 target.
Key moves to achieve this low level of embodied carbon included use of high levels of cement replacement in the post-tensioned concrete frame, scheming the building without basements and exposing the structure extensively to save on the use of carbon-intensive finishes.
Steve Hatch, Vice President Northern Europe at Meta, said: “London is already our largest tech hub outside of the US and our new campus will now be home to thousands of high-skilled engineers. Our teams here are building innovative technologies to connect billions of people around the world and help small businesses grow, while also keeping our services safe.”
Helen Causer, office lead at King’s Cross, comments: “Our workplace routines have been turned upside down during the past two years and that makes the arrival of the first Meta employees at King’s Cross even more exciting. It reaffirms our view, and one that is shared by Meta, that the best spaces and places will always play a vital role in culture, connectivity and creativity and are fundamental to how our customers do business. This is an important milestone for the estate as well as London’s post-pandemic recovery.”
King’s Cross is London’s fastest growing district and has, over the past decade, outperformed all other London Opportunity Areas for employment and population growth. At the heart of the knowledge quarter, it has become a hub for creative and digital businesses and an important location for business, attracting major global companies.
The area’s industrial past has inspired the 50 new and repurposed buildings, including the iconic Gasholders London and the Granary Building. The 67 acre estate includes 27 acres of public space, a mix of parks, streets, squares, and gardens, with Granary Square and its iconic fountains as a heart.
When complete, King’s Cross will have over 1,700 homes, a mix of private, rental and affordable housing, plus accommodation for 750 students. More than 18,000 people now work in the neighbourhood. King’s Cross is home to leading international and UK companies including Google, Facebook, Sony Music and Nike, who now occupy various Ramboll designed buildings across the estate.
The King’s Cross Estate is owned by the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP), made up of pension fund AustralianSuper, clients of the international business of Federated Hermes and Argent investors.
One of the largest mixed use regeneration schemes in central London. Already a vibrant district, when complete the sustainable, 67 acre development will feature 10 new squares, 20 new streets and 50 new and refurbished buildings, including homes, retail and office spaces, entertainment and education facilities. Ramboll has provided structural and civil engineering design for 15 plots at this landmark development dealing with high speed railways and tunnels below.