Grey meets green as London's newest park is framed by a converted Victorian gasholder

by Kim Megson | 13 Nov 2015

Another day, another exciting new development in London’s King’s Cross: a public park encased within an enormous Victorian gasholder frame.

Gasholder No. 8 – the largest of the 25m-high cast-iron structures that once dominated the London landscape – was painstakingly dismantled, refurbished and then carefully rebuilt in a new home next to Regent’s Canal. Inside it sits a polished stainless steel canopy surrounding a wide area of green space.

Bell Phillips Architects won the design competition for the project in 2008; swaying the judges with their vision of a unique venue for waterside events, displays, relaxation and play. Five years later, the mammoth task of dismantling the Grade II listed frame began.

“Our finished Gasholder Park combines the industrial heritage of King’s Cross with contemporary architecture to create a unique place,” said Hari Phillips, partner at Bell Phillips. “To design a new use for such a well-known London landmark was both a daunting responsibility and an unmissable opportunity. We hope that it will become a much-loved public space as King’s Cross continues to emerge as one of London’s most interesting new quarters.”

Garden designers Dan Pearson Studio have designed new planting around the frame, providing colour, texture and sensory stimulation around the space. The Shepley Engineering company in Yorkshire completed the refurbishment of the structure.

“It’s an unusual and vast space, with a character best appreciated by standing in the middle of the lawn, looking up at the gasholder frames,” added Anthony Peter, project director at Argent, which managed the development. “It has been one of the most complex and challenging projects to deliver at King’s Cross to date, and very satisfying to see completed.”

Three other historic gasholders will neighbour the park in the near future. They will wrap around new canal-side apartments designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects.

These are exciting times for King’s Cross. The iconic German Gymnasium re-opened this week as a fine dining destination, while Thomas Heatherwick’s Studio have offered a sneak preview of their exciting plans to create a new public space around an abandoned coal yard just across from Gasholder Park.

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Another day, another exciting new development in London’s King’s Cross: a public park encased within an enormous Victorian gasholder frame. Gasholder No. 8 – the largest of the 25m-high cast-iron structures that once dominated the London landscape – was painstakingly dismantled, refurbished and then carefully rebuilt in a new home next to Regent’s Canal. Inside it sits a polished stainless steel canopy surrounding a wide area of green space. Bell
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The Victorian gasholder frame was painstakingly dismantled, refurbished and rebuilt to house the park / Bell Phillips Architects
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