The competition was launched to raise the profile of the future of gasholder bases and the subsequent regeneration this will generate.
National Grid Property, which manages the company’s surplus land, has a portfolio of former gasholders which will be dismantled over the coming years. The engineered bases of below-ground holders represent large voids in the sub-surface once dismantling has occurred. These voids represent potential future health and safety hazards if left empty and unused so the default practice is to backfill the holder and leave the site level for sale to potential developers.
Backfilling the voids is both labour and resource intensive, even if the material used is from other sites where the material is surplus to requirements. There is also a high environmental cost with the transport of material and associated dis-amenity. The competition was an opportunity to investigate alternative uses of the void space.
Shortlisted teams were shortlisted for Phase 2 of the competition as follows:
- 318 Studio
- Jan Verhagen and Priscille Rodriguez
- Max Architects
- Outpost Architecture and Design Studio
- WOO – Wilson Owens Owens Architects
Outpost Architecture and Design Studio were announced as the competition winners in January 2018.
Laura Watson, Gasholder Demolition Manager added: “Huge congratulations to the winners Outpost and the highly commended WOO. Outpost‘s mixed use design fully utilised the void and would deliver much needed housing and workspaces at a deliverable scale. The WOO leisure scheme would provide a unique facility focused around young people and social mobility.
We are excited that our sites can see a greater potential and purchasers will be inspired by these, and all the great ideas submitted will result in sites being brought back into beneficial use in a sustainable way. “
Russ Davenport, Faulkner Browns, RIBA Adviser commented: “Outpost presented a beautifully simple vision in their submission for which they should be commended. Their cost effective, sustainable design proposal provides an appropriate response to a shortage of affordable housing and workshop spaces across the country. The decision to build out from the base structures, effectively lining the inside wall with a timber framed, modular construction, is inventive yet pragmatic, the serrated roofline presenting a unique but familiar domestic appearance to the surrounding. Key to their success was close attention to the brief and a solution which could easily provide a sustainable future for the country’s stock of gasholder bases.”