Security Doesn’t Have to be Ugly

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Security Doesn’t Have to be Ugly

When looking at physical security designs, there is a balance between proportionate and cost-effective security measures and aesthetic requirements. Achieving this balance often requires a bit of thought. Security does not have to be ugly. Impact tested bollards can be integrated or hidden within landscaping designs. Bespoke sleeves can also be created to suit the surrounding architectural environment.

Project Background:

The historic St. Pancras, Renaissance hotel is an iconic London building steeped in history. The building forms the frontispiece of St Pancras railway station.

Initially a hotel, the hotel closed and became offices for British Rail. Under threat of being demolished, campaigners across London united to ensure that this historic building was protected. Following a successful campaign, the hotel was listed and given Grade I status meaning that it will continue to be preserved.

Any works to the surrounding environment need to go through a substantial approval process. Maintenance or enhancements need to be sympathetic to the historical façade of the building.

Project Brief:

The iconic status of the Renaissance hotel building elevated the infrastructures threat profile. Under advice from a Counter Terror Security Advisor, the hotel approached ATG Access to explore perimeter security options.

Project Scope:

Three main areas surrounding the iconic, St Pancras estate needed an aesthetically sympathetic physical security design. Firstly the Grade I listed hotel frontage, the connecting pedestrian access between the hotel and St Pancras Station and the station itself.


To secure the entrance to the hotel, shallow foundation bollards were chosen. The ground surrounding the hotel had a wealth of services located directly under the hotel entrance. To redirect these would have been a huge and unnecessary cost. This meant that traditional depth bollards were unable to be installed within this particular area. Shallow foundation impact tested bollards are also very quick to install and so the disruption caused by the installation would be minimal. This aimed to limit inconvenience for the hotel and guests.

The main challenge for this site was the stringent aesthetic requirements needing to be adhered to. Modern, stainless steel bollards were not an option to secure this heritage site. Before the product design was finalised, ATG worked with the project’s lead architect to produce a number of sample sleeve designs. These were in keeping with the hotel’s architecture and history.

Ultimately, the client chose a bespoke, burgundy sleeve design which blended into the existing building’s façade. Heritage England approved the installation.


To walk from the hotel site to the front of the Station, there is a pedestrian walkway which leads you down a set of stairs. The stairs required a level of protection to ensure continuity and the removal of any perimeter vulnerabilities. The same bollard design was used to protect the steps. Bespoke handrails were also added to connect the bollards and ensure pedestrian safety.


The entrance to St. Pancras station itself is very different from that of the hotel. The station entrance has been designed to be modern with a huge glass building façade. This part of the station overlooks the very modern King’s Cross Square development which consists of a large, landscaped space with bars and restaurants.

The security chosen for this area of the site needed to be in keeping with the different approach to design. The architect decided to commission impact tested bollards with a shallow foundation and stainless steel design to compliment this different style of building design.

Shallow foundation bollards had to be specified again within this area because the London Underground ticket hall ceiling sits just 300 mm below ground level. This meant that the bollards needed to be installed within the 300 mm suspended slab foundation.


The entire St Pancras hotel and station complex all benefited from architecturally sympathetic security measures. The surrounding area now has a holistic, high-security design and installation which protects the urban area against attack and accidental vehicle impact.

The actual installation of the security measures caused minimum disruption due to the use of shallow foundation products. These products require very little surface excavation (150 mm) and can be set and fitted quickly and effectively.

The entire urban and heritage area is completed with all impact tested bollards having a finish which meets strict architectural and security requirements.

See more examples of our architectural solutions by clicking on the image below.

Security Doesn't have to be ugly