Gas holders are often seen as an iconic structure of the Industrial Revolution, but with technological advances rendering them obsolete as a storage facility, the National Grid is dismantling many and selling the land.
Not wanting to remove this aspect of British history from London, Architect Chris Wilkinson took this group of cylindrical towers in London’s King’s Cross, and transformed them into luxury living accommodation. The gasholders, built sometime between 1860 and 1880, were still protected structures. “We had to work very carefully with English Heritage,” Wilkinson explained. “But they’ve been very positive about it. From their point of view, what was important was finding a use for these buildings, so that they would continue on forever. If we didn’t have this, then what would you do with the gasholders? They’re just big frames.”
This luxury development, named Gasholders, holds 145 apartments and 65 unique plans, all of which have access to a spa, business lounge and an entertainment suite with a 14-seat cinema. The iconic London setting features a ‘watch-makers’ aesthetic – brass and bronze and stainless steel, to pay homage to its industrial past. Talking about the unusual shape of the blocks, the Stirling Prize-winning architect mused; “People said, ‘How can you make apartments work in a circular building?’” he recounts. “But what you get is what I call expansive space – when you go in, it opens out towards the outside. This shape actually works very well because it’s always opening out on to the light.”
The interior design of the development was undertaken by Jonathan Tuckey Designs; the kitchens follow the desired ‘watch makers’ aesthetic, with deep brown cabinetry, warm neutral flooring and luxurious golden details, while the bathrooms blend a host of materials, creating an interesting dichotomy between the textural deep-hued walls and the brushed golden cladding. Jonathan Tuckey said; “I’ve always been interested in how buildings can change from one thing to another, and the Gasholders is a brilliant example of what’s possible,” says Tuckey. “For the Gasholders, I distinctly see our work as mediating between what the existing building wants and what the person who lives in it needs. The thing that’s most important, though, is that these apartments are really beautiful homes.”
Gasholders London | gasholderslondon.co.uk