Victorian Meets Modern: Gasholders by WilkinsonEyre
Architect: WilkinsonEyre, London
Location: King´s Cross, London (GB)
1867 saw the construction of the circular, cast-iron gasometer frames in the era of London’s industrial boom. Even back then, the trio was recognized as a landmark and is still the only complex of its kind whose three rings are connected. When London’s industry moved to the edge of town in the 20th century, the gasometers fell into disuse. In 2001 they were disassembled, only to be restored and rebuilt near their original location in 2015, now as an element of a rather unusual apartment ensemble by WilkinsonEyre.
King’s Cross is the largest urban development project in Europe. This revitalization plan lays particular value on the district’s industrial heritage. These gas holders are a perfect example. The three interconnected iron rings form the frame for the three round apartment towers. The towers and frame are constructively independent structures which interact with each other – both modern and Victorian.
The architects’ intention was to give the buildings a feeling of the old gasometers. Their upward offset is an allusion to how, back when the gas holders still served their original purpose, they would expand with increasing pressure. The three apartment complexes are connected at the centre by means of an imaginary, fourth circle which is home to an inner courtyard with a pool. Each building has an atrium, which also forms part of the fourth circle. These atria provide access to the apartments, which are arranged around them like slices of pie and vary in their size and floor plans. Many have a balcony; the round arrangement constantly creates new light situations.
To ensure privacy and shelter from the sun, perforated metal slats have been fixed to the sleek, generously glazed façade. Residents can close off their windows and balconies at the touch of a button. The towers have rooftop gardens, some of which belong to the apartments. A large garden on top of the lowest building is open to all.
The apartments are sumptuously equipped: WilkinsonEyre were inspired by the fine mechanics of a clock – all elements should mesh both constructively and aesthetically, like the cogs and wheels of a watch. The selected materials and colours are reminiscent of the Industrial Age. Innovative technology enables residents to regulate the climate of their entire living environment.
More information about this project is available here: