david / 20.03.15 / SENT 19:35PM

It’ll definitely be
an interesting one. You in?

ALAN / 20.03.15 / SENT 20:15PM

That’s what I like to hear! When can we start?

Exciting world first.
An icon revitalised.

Challenge accepted.

Gas storage is certainly not synonymous with luxury city residences. But the new Gasholders London might just change that. The iconic circular guide frames that surrounded the gas-holding drums have decorated the landscape at King’s Cross for more than 150 years. Transforming the space into unique apartments injected new life into these historic structures.

At the start of our journey, we knew the architecture was anything but ordinary... but who wants ordinary? Reusing these iconic circular frames for such a completely different purpose was a challenge not to be underestimated... and it was one we embraced with all the enthusiasm and energy it deserved.

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We wanted every aspect to be unexpected, so even if you’re in the roof garden, looking down inside, you’ll see something interesting.
Jeff Lee, Wilkinsoneyre

World first.

A gasholder, or gasometer, is a large container in which natural gas or town gas is stored. As the only apartments in the world to be built within a trio of listed gasholder frames, the development required a completely different approach right from the start.

The entire project team was working with the unknown. We were tasked with ensuring that the engineering solutions complemented and showcased this unique design, as well as enabling each space to function in the best possible way.

Embracing the circle.

The shape and form of the building created challenges unusual for residential design. The circular aspect of the gasholders inspired architect WilkinsonnEyre to arrange the apartments around three atria. This meant the floor plates were divided into slices like a pie, laid out to take advantage of natural daylight, with the living spaces and bedrooms at the outer perimeter.

Our client Argent placed a key emphasis on coordination between the disciplines and knew we were best placed to offer a self-managed joined-up approach. Our Acoustics, Daylighting, Fire Engineering, MEP, Sustainability and Vertical Transportation teams all worked in tandem to realise the vision for these unique apartments, adopting an iterative design process, and providing one consistent voice for the architect and Argent.
Technical Impact

In the balance.

The façade design was possibly the most complex aspect of the project, carefully balancing the conflicting requirements of overheating, energy efficiency, acoustics, and daylight. The result is a solution that features motorised shutters, comfort cooling limited to acoustically challenged apartments, and daylight levels in accordance with planning requirements... all with fabric and energy efficiency that goes beyond Part L compliance.

In fact, since residents have moved in, the Gasholders have been held up by the BBC as a great example of external shading design that solves the overheating most buildings suffer from during sunny hot spells.
Human Impact

Making stylish spaces safe.

The heritage running through the Gasholders’ external appearance is continued through to the inside, with an open circular atrium at the centre. Argent’s challenge to our Fire Engineering team was to keep the atrium feeling open, light, and airy, but also compliant with fire safety measures.

In a time of increasing urbanisation, projects like Gasholders are vital to land conservation and the regeneration of structures that might otherwise fall into disrepair. When we set out on our journey, we knew the final result would be a truly unique set of buildings that would take unused structures and breathe in new life to their historic frames. What we could only of hoped for, however, was how these finished buildings inspire and excite in equal measure... and proudly sit as a vibrant new landmark on the London landscape.
The Gasholders is a stunning example of the joys of luxurious living... inside truly unique structures.
Key Figures
3 gas frames originally constructed 1860-1867
123 cast iron columns
145 apartments
14 seat screening room and adjacent games room

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The transformation of this no-go north London area into a go-to address has set a benchmark.
the Sunday Times