7 August 2014

Welcome to the new Museum of Architecture at Kings Cross

Kings Cross keeps getting better. The canal was always nice, Kings Place is a good place to work, Central Saint Martin is an exciting venue and now these have been joined by the Museum of Architecture.

Actually, it may have been there for a while as it is well hidden and it was only the recent addition of a large sign pointing to it that told me that it was there. And I work just a few metres away.

The museum is part of the Filling Station complex that sits on the south side of the canal in the little space between Central Saint Martin and Kings Place. It was once a filling station in the petrol sense and now it fills workers with trendy snacks.

It is hidden from the busy road by an intriguing wall of corrugated plastic that is there to hide the busy road from its customers. That in itself is a bold architectural statement.

The museum is small is small, just a couple of rooms, but it manages to pack a lot of punch in to that space. The current exhibition, Vertical Urban Factory, looks at the changing role of factories within our cities.

The display in the first room has a history of factories and their relationship with people and places. So, for example, it shows when some major new technologies were introduced, when significant factories were built and important changes in labour relationships, e.g. strikes. Each theme has its own colour to make the interwoven stories easier to follow.

The second room explores some of the ideas about factory design and illustrates this with examples. It also starts to look at the future and how new mixed complexes are being built.

There is a lot of detail there and that make it a rich place to delve into. It also means that a second visit will be worth while and I will be sure to make one before the exhibition closes in September.

The waterside location and unexpected discovery reminded me of the ARCAM Architecture Centre in Amsterdam, and that was a good thing to be reminded of.

The Museum of Architecture is a very welcome addition to the area. I hope that it likes it there and stays for a long time.

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