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Bell Phillips wins planning for King's Cross gasholder transformation

Bell Phillips Architects has scooped planning for its contest-winning scheme to transform a redundant gasholder in King’s Cross into a public park

The Victorian gasholder, which is the largest at the St Pancras Gasworks, will house a 270,000m² park providing space for events.

The park will also provide playground space for the nearby new academy and school for deaf children being designed by David Morley Architects.

A central lawn will sit within the perimeter created by the gasholder frame, while a canopy will be constructed from stainless steel supported by 150 fin columns. The roof of the canopy will be perforated with diamond-shaped holes.

Hari Phillips of Bell Phillips Architects, said: ‘This project epitomises what King’s Cross is all about; outstanding public space, high quality contemporary design and industrial heritage coming together to form an urban environment with character.

‘Gasholder No.8 provides a tangible connection with the site’s industrial heritage and this spectacular new space will give members of the public a dramatic new perspective of the historic structure.

‘The new stainless steel canopy that will frame the public space utilizes cutting edge design and fabrication methods to create a delicate and precise structure that deliberately contrasts with the cast iron Victorian gasholder.’

Built in the 1850s, the gasholder was decommissioned in 2000, before being dismantled and shipped piece by piece to Shepley Engineers in Yorkshire in 2011. After a pain-staking restoration process that lasted two years, the gasholder returned to King’s Cross in 2013 and was rebuilt in a new location north of the Regent’s Canal.  

Bell Phillips Architects saw off a shortlist which included Feix and Merlin, Gustafson Porter and Loop Architecture, to land the prized job back in 2009.

The park is due to open in September 2015.

Previous story (AJ 17.11.14)

Bell Phillips + Kimble scoop King’s Cross gasometer contest

Up-and-coming London-based outfit Bells Phillips + Kimble has won the competition to re-use a redundant gasholder in King’s Cross, London

The practice’s ‘imaginative’ events space proposal, which includes a water pool and amphitheatre, beat four other finalists (see below) and more than 80 submissions to land the prize project.

The competition, which has a budget of £2.4 million, was judged by a panel from the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (Argent, London & Continental Railways and DHL).

Bridget Evans, project director at King’s Cross Central, described the selection process as a ‘fascinating process’. She said: ‘We asked for big ideas and that is certainly what we got.  The winning design works on several levels for King’s Cross Central – it will be accessible with multiple uses, it’s fun, has style and it will create an enchanting space for local communities to enjoy.’

Commenting on the victory Hari Phillips, from Bell Phillips + Kimble said: ‘The combination of the gasholder structure and its location overlooking the Regent’s Canal sets the scene for a truly fantastic project.’

Intriguingly the scheme only received just over 2 per cent of an online poll. According to AJ readers, Julian Hakes’ large reflective ball should have won, having bagged 43 per cent of the vote.

Speaking to the AJ, Hakes said that he was hoping to find another home for the scheme, adding ‘it would make a great Serpentine Pavilion’.

Previous story: 10.09.09

AJ exclusive: Five firms vie to revamp King’s Cross gasholder

The AJ can reveal the practices shortlisted in the competition to ‘revamp and reinvigorate’ a redundant gasholder in King’s Cross, London.

Bell Phillips + Kimble has proposed an events space and gardens; Feix & Merlin a helter-skelter slide; and Gustafson Porter, the Diana Memorial fountain architect, a landscaped space. Also in the running are Hakes Associates, with an events space inside a reflective ball, and Europan 8 winners Loop Architecture, with a pavilion and surrounding landscape.

The competition, which has a budget of £2.4 million, was judged by a panel from the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (Argent, London & Continental Railways and DHL).

Bridget Evans, project director at King’s Cross Central, said: ‘The varied nature of the shortlisted entries is a clear indication that the project has really captured the imagination of architects and landscape designers.

‘This puts us firmly on the right track to achieve our ambition of creating a truly unique public space.  The gasholders have become synonymous with King’s Cross and they are an important reminder of its industrial past.’

The five practices beat more than 75 entries to reach the final. They will present their detailed schemes to the contest jury over the coming weeks and the winner will be announced at the end of October.

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