Gasholders London is a ground-breaking development of 145 apartments divided between 3 residential buildings. Each building is uniquely housed within a triplet of listed gasholder guide frames.
Part of King’s Cross, the largest urban redevelopment scheme in Europe, Gasholders has been developed to create a dynamic counterpoint between new and old. The scheme provides 145 apartments, a private gym and spa, a business lounge and an entertainment suite with screening room, bar reception area and private dining room.
The concept for Gasholders was created by award-winning architects WilkinsonEyre. The concept proposed three drums of accommodation at differing heights to suggest the movement of the original gasholders, which would have risen up or down depending on the pressure of the gas within. A fourth, virtual drum shape, located at the centre forms an open courtyard, celebrating the conglomeration of the cast iron structures at their point of intersection.
Chris Wilkinson, Founding Director of WilkinsonEyre said:
“The gasholders are historic, industrial structures being redeveloped, but in a more enduring sense. We wanted to retain the presence of the structure but give it new meaning and use for the future. Working with circular geometry has resulted in really beautiful ideas. What began as a challenge, turned out to be a blessing.”
Work on Gasholders was completed earlier this year and the innovative project has received widespread acclaim. In June, it was named on the WAF Awards shortlist in the ‘Housing, Large Scale – Completed Buildings’ category.
Apartments are accessed through a central courtyard, each drum volume with its own atrium and core. They are linked by a series of circular walkways that surround the courtyard. The circular nature of the buildings result in apartments that are laid out to take advantage of natural daylighting, with the living and bedrooms at the perimeter. The ‘pie’ shaped configuration of the grid forms open-plan apartments with expansive views and a variety of orientations.
Externally, the cladding is composed of modular vertical panels of steel and glass textured with a veil of shutters which can be opened or closed at a touch of a button, to give shade and privacy to the occupants. Each building roof is home to a garden that brings a slice of nature to the urban landscape.
The triplet of Grade II-listed, cast iron gasholder guide frames were originally constructed in 1867. The triplet was abandoned as heavy industry moved to the outskirts of the city, and was dismantled in 2001 to allow for the construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. The guide frames, including 123 columns, have been painstakingly restored by Shepley Engineers in Yorkshire. Despite being over 150 years old, the triplet was in remarkably good condition, largely preserved from decay by its 32 layers of historic paint.
WilkinsonEyre, twice winners of both the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize and the RIBA Lubetkin Prize, is one of the UK’s leading architecture practices. Its portfolio of bold, beautiful, intelligent architecture includes the Guangzhou International Finance Centre, one of the tallest buildings in the world; the giant cooled conservatories for Gardens by the Bay in Singapore; the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth; and the Weston Library for the University of Oxford.
Current projects include the restoration of Battersea Power Station in London and new towers in Sydney, Melbourne and Toronto.