6 St Chad’s Place

Much attention has been given in recent years to the regeneration of the former wasteland around King’s Cross. The construction of massive contemporary structures such as the Gagosian Gallery and Kings Place have been well documented, and rightly so.

A stone’s throw away from these cultural landmarks, tucked down a slightly Dickensian passage, is 6 St Chad’s Place. This ex-Victorian workshop was purchased and renovated into restaurant and bar by Squire and Partners, who were looking for a place where their office could socialise in.

The establishment first opened its oversized doors to the public in 2003 and has kept them that way ever since (weather permitting), in an effort to integrate the exterior and interior spaces. Intent on keeping itself a ‘hidden gem’, the venue uses minimal signage, but has, nonetheless, attracted a loyal clientele.

Squire and Partners believe that it is important to renovations with an understanding of the unique character, history and needs of buildings. In keeping with the provenance of the building, the architects chose to keep the original open brick and have restored the timber roof trusses. As a nod to the heritage of the area, a graphic mural of a train pulling into a station covers the entire back wall and creates an illusion of perspective.

When the practice first acquired the warehouse, it was derelict, coming with consent to knock it down and build a four storey dwelling. However, Squire and Partners decided that it would be much more interesting to keep the existing building. In other words, they chose the hard road – the construction was not easy. Aside from obstacles raised by the local authority and untouchable listed cobblestones (under which their services ran), the building still shakes slightly as trains rattle through the underground King’s Cross Trainlink.

Today, the venue holds multiple design awards and is regularly hired for book launches and receptions. It may not be one of the most ostentatious buildings in the area, but 6 St Chad’s Place certainly adds some much needed soul to this corner of London.

WordsRosemary Munro

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