Photographer: Peter Landers

Bridge facing exterior

Gasholders London by WilkinsonEyre | Apartment blocks

Bridge facing exterior

×

Photographer: Peter Landers

View down through one of the internal atriums

Gasholders London by WilkinsonEyre | Apartment blocks

View down through one of the internal atriums

×

Photographer: Peter Landers

Central staircase in main atrium

Gasholders London by WilkinsonEyre | Apartment blocks

Central staircase in main atrium

×

King’s Cross is the largest urban redevelopment scheme in Europe, and the rich industrial heritage of the area is integral to its renaissance. Among the most distinctive and beautiful features to be retained is the triplet of Grade II-listed, cast iron gasholder guide frames which 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.

WilkinsonEyre won a design competition in 2002, with the concept for three residential buildings to be housed within the elegant frames. 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.

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. Apartments are accessed through a central courtyard, each drum volume with its own atrium and core. These are linked by a series of circular walkways which surround the courtyard, where light is reflected in a central water feature. In another play of contrasts, the roofs are planted as gardens to bring nature to this re-inhabited urban landscape.

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. The design for Gasholders has been developed to create a dynamic counterpoint between new and old. The heavy industrial aesthetic and raw physical materiality of the guide frames contrasts with the lightness and intricacy of the interior spaces, which draw inspiration from the delicate refinement of a traditional watch movement.

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. Designed for the busy urbanite, the apartments within incorporate innovative technologies which will allow residents to adjust, control and environmentally fine-tune their living spaces.

This new vision for the Gasholders balances the functional requirements of modern living, whilst celebrating the character and form of the triplet guide frame. The project responds to the wider industrial heritage, meeting the inherent constraints with imaginative design.

Quotations - Chris Wilkinson OBE, RA DipArch RIBA Hon FAIA, FCSD
‘Working with circular geometry has resulted in really beautiful ideas. What began as a challenge, turned out to be a blessing.’

‘The gasholders are historic, industrial structures being redeveloped, but in a more enduring sense, we view it like a watchmaker would see a beautiful timepiece. We wanted to retain the presence of the structure but give it new meaning and use for the future.’

‘We’re placing new against old, finding ways to create an elegant contrast.

WilkinsonEyre
Main Contractor: Carillion
Resi Agent: Knight Frank
Project Management / Quantity Surveyor: Gardiner & Theobald
Structural and Façade Engineer: Arup
Interior Architect for the Apartments: Jonathan Tuckey Design
Common Parts Furnishings: No 12 Studio
External Façade: Frener Reifer
Landscape Architect: Dan Pearson Studio
Planning Consultant: NLP Nathan Lichfield & Partners
Lighting Consultant: Spiers & Major
PR: Symposium International
Signage: Holmes Wood
Gasholder Frame Engineer: Craddy Pitchers Davidson
Fire Engineer / Engineer Environmental / Sustainability BREEAM / Acoustics Consultant / Façade Consultant Logistics / Transport / Mechanical Electrical & PH: Hoare Lea
CDM Coordinator: David M Eagle
Specification: Aecom

Frames Restoration: Shepley Engineers
Frames Re-erection: Bourne
Enabling Works / Substructure: Henry
Piling: PJ Edwards
Concrete Structure: AJ Morrisroe
Mechanical Electrical & PH: SES
External Façade: Frener Reifer
Precast Façade: Thorp
Roof (Alumasc): Tilbury
Bathrooms: EE Smith
Kitchens: Barzaghi Store
Penthouse Kitchens: Boffi
Joinery: Houston Cox
Resin Flooring: Dutch Design UK Systems
Resin Flooring Polished Concrete: Avantgarde
Tiling: WB Simpson
Architectural Metalwork: Southdown
Passenger Lifts: Otis
Car Lifts: Landmark Lifts
Hard Landscape: Maylin
Soft Landscape: Willerby
Refuse Chutes: Hardall
Water Feature: The Fountain Workshop
Spa Fit Out: Barr & Wray
Blockwork: Galostar
Partitions & Ceilings: Platt + Reilly
Polished Plaster: Armourcoat
Screeds: ALD
Fire Stopping: Fire Shield
Mastic: Fastglobe
Painting: K & M McLoughlin
Soft Floor Finishes: Floorcraft
Ironmongery Internals (including bespoke apartment door handles): Franchi
Ironmongery external façade and bespoke front entrance doors: Frener Reifer

Photographer: Peter Landers

View upwards from central atrium

Gasholders London by WilkinsonEyre | Apartment blocks

View upwards from central atrium

×

Photographer: Corridors leading to apartments

Gasholders London by WilkinsonEyre | Apartment blocks ×

Photographer: Peter Landers

View up through one of the internal atriums to skylight showing Guggenheim-esque walkways

Gasholders London by WilkinsonEyre | Apartment blocks

View up through one of the internal atriums to skylight showing Guggenheim-esque walkways

×

Photographer: Peter Landers

Roof garden

Gasholders London by WilkinsonEyre | Apartment blocks

Roof garden

×

Photographer: Peter Landers

Canalside exterior

Gasholders London by WilkinsonEyre | Apartment blocks

Canalside exterior

×