by WilkinsonEyre with Jonathan Tuckey Design
Client King's Cross Central Limited Partnership
Awards RIBA London Award 2018
The industrial heritage of Kings Cross is integral to its regeneration and the triplet of Grade II listed cast-iron gasholders is the most distinct centrepiece.
Constructed in 1867, the heavy industrial structures in their full restoration remain as a dominant feature on the new skyline of Kings Cross. Sitting comfortably within these structures are the three residential drums, clad in a delicate and intricate aesthetic of steel and glass panels with a veil of external shutters pierced in a pattern of circles to allow dappled light into the rooms.
These create a homogenous yet dynamic skin, paying homage to the original drums that once sat in these gasholder guide frames. However, they also fulfil a functional and environmental requirement for modern living. The judges were impressed by the facade design addressing the challenges of privacy, solar shading and window dressing while celebrating the industrial character of the gasholders.
The architect approached the configuration of the three interlocking drums to create a 4 fourth central drum-shaped courtyard, which is open and theatrical with the conglomeration of the gasholder structures coming tougher.
As a counterpoint to the external structure, the interior is based on the intrinsic aesthetic and working of a watch. The brass linings in the polished floor, balustrade design and custom-designed door handles reinforces this crafted approach to the details and is reminiscent of Scarpa’s instinctive designs, combining base materials with precious ones. A brass lining to the vertical edge of the external shutters continues this language onto the facade.
The residential drums are set at differing heights to suggest the historic movement of the gasholders and each one with its own central atrium floods light down into the heart of the structure and into the apartments through diffused glass screens. The circular walkways and light reflective surfaces create a ‘Guggenheim’ feel to encourage interaction with neighbours and other residents.
The integral design of the wayfinding throughout the development with signage embossed into the textured concrete panels is done with great intelligence. This considered approach to the design is also evident within the apartments with a take on boutique hotels where the detailing to the fixtures and fittings is meticulous and custom-made. The layouts of the pie-shaped apartments are well planned, embracing the concept of a radial arrangement to benefit from expansive views and daylight.
The provision of a spa, gym, roof garden, cinema and business lounge all add to a modern lifestyle offer. The client is finding that the demographic of residents is proving to be older than expected with an appreciation for the quality of detail and ease of use of the apartments with innovative technologies.
Gasholders London is a successful marrying of old with new where it sensitively handles the needs of modern 21st century living with celebrating the most beautiful industrial structures in the renaissance of King’s Cross.
Internal Area 14,050 m²
Structural Engineers Arup
Environmental / M&E Engineers Hoare Lea
Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant Gardiner & Theobald
Project Management Gardiner & Theobald
Structural / Façade Engineers Arup
Access Consultant All Clear
Landscape Architects Dan Pearson Studio
Interior Architecture for the Apartments Jonathan Tuckey Design
Frames Restoration Shepley Engineers
Gasholder Frame Engineer Craddy Pritchers Davidson
Lighting Design Spiers & Major
Planning Consultant NLP Nathan Lichfield & Partners
Spa Consultant Howard Spa Consulting