King's Cross Church at King's House, 2022

new venue for inner-city church

Over the past few years Haworth Tompkins has been working alongside Kings Cross Church (KXC) in their search for a new home. Now ‘King’s House’, the transformation of a former Billiards Hall in the heart of Kings Cross, provides KXC with a permanent place to reside for the first time in its 12-year history. Over the past 100 years, the 1923 building has housed a variety of occupants including gown manufacturers after the Second World War and the Medical Research Council's computer unit in the 1960s. In its most recent incarnation, it operated as performing arts training centre, which resulted in the once outward facing glazed shopfront being closed off to create drama studios within.

King’s Cross Church’s ambition, and brief for Haworth Tompkins, was to create a new centre for community, worship, entrepreneurship and mission. Thus providing a home for KXC’s activities which include charity programmes, regular events and Sunday services.

Haworth Tompkins undertook a complete internal re-organisation, peeling back years of alterations and additions. It revealed the former open plan upper floor, perfectly suited for its new use as a congregation space, providing a 200-seat auditorium sitting alongside a large open plan office space overlooking Pentonville Road. The ground floor houses a café, meeting and community rooms. Re-configured circulation improves connections between ground and first floors, with a generous open staircase linking the entrance café and the auditorium.

Giving the church an active street presence, an open and welcoming “shopfront” has been reinstated along Pentonville Road with a glazed corner onto Providence Row. Creating a contemporary addition to the street scape and complementing the existing brickwork on the upper floor, a single colour unites the ground floor glazed frontage with integrated solar shading awnings, King’s House signage, and the metalwork security gates bearing their logo.

Critical to the project’s success and future resilience, the building’s fabric has been upgraded to improve thermal comfort and reduce energy consumption throughout the year. An MVHR system has been installed that enables the auditorium and adjacent spaces to function without relying on opening windows, avoiding associated acoustic implications and heat loss.

Since opening, the transparency of the ground floor café from the street, maximising views both in and out, has acted as catalyst for new conversations between KXC and their neighbours. Although King's House is small in scale, bringing an existing building into new use is sustainable and transformative and can resonate with the historical origin of a place. This is truly exemplified by Kings House, which embraces city life, providing an open welcome and refuge to all who pass. In today’s world, this is an essential and invaluable lifeline for the community.

“It has been a privilege to partner with HT over many years ... and we have loved collaborating with them. They've worked hard to understand the complex needs of our organisation which has helped unlock the hidden potential of a constrained existing building, adapting it to perfectly suit our needs, and create something both welcoming and beautiful.” Rich Spens, Operations Director, King's Cross Church


king's cross church

main contractor


structural engineer

edge structures

services engineer

max fordham

quantity surveyor

huntley cartwright


fred howarth

Behind the scenes