The competition to create a new use for the disused Gasholder 8 by Kings Cross mentions a construction budget of £2.5M, but who will stump up that money?
Originally constructed in the 1850s, the distinctive 25 metre high circular guide frame is a Grade II listed structure currently standing to the south of the Regent’s Canal. When it was functioning, its tank moved up and down depending on much gas it contained at the time. Disused since 2001, Gasholder 8 will be dismantled from its present location, refurbished and re-erected to the north of the canal and will eventually sit next to the three other gasholders – the Triplet – which will house apartments, a possible top floor restaurant and ground floor retail. This is only the first stage of this design project. It is likely that full design work by the winning team will commence in 2011. Listed Building Consent and detailed planning consent will be required for the Gasholder 8 scheme.
By day, the large shallow pool would be a play space for children, and by night, a more tranquil public space. Beneath the ‘roof-top’ pools is an internal events space with a series of glass lenses in the ceiling lighting the space below and offering dramatic views of the gasholder structure above.
The panel were apparently impressed with the Bell Phillips + Kimble design, because changing water levels as a result of the different uses, echo the rise and fall of the gasholder when it was still in use. They also felt that leaving the gasholder structure open was a good design decision – with the design celebrating the structure itself and taking account of surrounding uses.