King’s Cross Gasholder Competition, London Design Contest Winner, Building News, Images

King’s Cross Gasholder Competition

No.8: Open Design Contest in London, England – won by Bell Phillips & Kimble architects, UK

16 Nov 2009

Gasholder Competition Winner

Design: Bell Phillips & Kimble

Kings Cross Gasholder Competition London design winner

King's Cross Gasholder Competition London winner

Kings Cross Gasholder Competition London design

Gasholder Competition Shortlist announced

10 Sep 2009

Bell Phillips & Kimble

Feix & Merlin
King's Cross Gasholder King's Cross Gasholder King's Cross Gasholder

Gustafson Porter
King's Cross Gasholder King's Cross Gasholder King's Cross Gasholder

Hakes Associates
King's Cross Gasholder King's Cross Gasholder King's Cross Gasholder

Loop Architecture
King's Cross Gasholder King's Cross Gasholder King's Cross Gasholder


– Stunning and varied designs shortlisted for Grade II listed gasholder
– The ambition is to create a unique amenity for local communities and visitors to enjoy
– King’s Cross Central is allocating £2.5million for the delivery of the successful design

Five innovative and varied designs have made the shortlist of the Gasholder No. 8 design competition at King’s Cross Central, the delivery partners have announced. Design ideas include an events space within a giant reflective ball, a helter skelter slide and a serene pavilion with water features.

80 design submissions were received for the first stage of the competition, which launched in June and a judging panel selected five entries to move forward to the next stage of the competition. The judging panel, consisting of the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (Argent King’s Cross Limited Partnership, London & Continental Railways and DHL) and masterplanners for King’s Cross Central, have shortlisted the following five architects and landscape architects practices:

– Bell Phillips & Kimble – an events space and landscaped gardens
– Feix & Merlin – helter skelter slide
– Gustafson Porter – landscaped space
– Hakes Associates – events space within a reflective ball
– Loop Architecture – pavilion and landscaped area

The focus now for the shortlisted entrants will be developing their proposals further, culminating in a presentation to the judging panel in the autumn with the winner to be announced at the end of October.

Bridget Evans, Project Director at King’s Cross Central, says:

“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. Much like our plans for the Gasholder Triplet, for Gasholder No.8 we think it’s exciting that we can blend a new innovative idea with such an important heritage feature of the site.”

Winner due end of Oct 2009

King’s Cross Gasholder No.8 Contest images / information received 100909

King’s Cross Gasholder No. 8 Competition : Entry by studio DuB
King's Cross Gasholder No. 8 Entry
image from architect

Gasholder Competition at King’s Cross Central, London

9 Jun 2009

King’s Cross Gasholder Design Competition

– Open design competition launched for listed Victorian gasholder at King’s Cross Central
– Ambition is to create one of a kind, multi-use public space
– King’s Cross Central allocates £2.5million for delivery of the successful design
– Deadline for competition registration 17 July, deadline for design submissions 7 August

Gasholder No.8
King's Cross Gasholder King's Cross Victorian Gasholder King's Cross London Gasholder
images : John Sturrock

An adventure playground, a performance space, a picnic-area or perhaps even a roller-skating rink – any of these could end up being created inside the listed Victorian Gasholder No. 8 at King’s Cross Central as a result of a national open design competition launched today.

Intended to be a destination and landmark for King’s Cross and an amenity for local communities, the partners delivering King’s Cross Central are inviting UK based designers to come up with a use for this unique space. This is the first time a competition of this kind has been run in the UK.

The partners – Argent, London & Continental Railways and DHL Supply Chain – are keen to attract innovative and ambitious ideas and are therefore inviting entries from multi-disciplinary design teams. Concepts beyond traditional architectural and landscape disciplines are being encouraged, including play and culture. An overall construction budget of £2.5million has been allocated to the project.

Roger Madelin, Joint Chief Executive of Argent, the Asset and Development Manager of King’s Cross Central said:

“We have always said that the 19th Century gasholders need to form an integral part of the 21st Century vision for King’s Cross Central. They are already symbolic of the area and are magnificent examples of the rich industrial history of King’s Cross.

“Retaining a heritage structure doesn’t necessarily equate to sticking to traditional ideas. Our ingenious housing plans for the triplet and now this competition for Gasholder No. 8 show how the possibilities are endless. From the dancing water fountains in Granary Square to whatever ends up in Gasholder No. 8, King’s Cross Central is set to be an amazing new part of central London, where everything is surprising and mediocrity will be outlawed.”

The four gasholders at King’s Cross Central, the Gasholder Triplet and Gasholder No. 8, will be moving off site for refurbishment before being re-erected in permanent locations on the site as the scheme develops. The partners are keen to launch the competition as part of the emerging public space and amenity strategy for King’s Cross Central and to provide certainty about the future of the well-recognised heritage structures.

Originally constructed in the 1850s, the distinctive 25m high circular guide frame structure, complete with the original telescopic wrought iron bell and brick tank below ground level, is a Grade II listed structure which currently stands to the south of the Regent’s Canal. Disused since 2001, Gasholder No. 8 is to 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.

Design teams entering the competition must be led by a practising, registered architect or landscape architect with a UK office. Designers can register their interest in the competition via the King’s Cross Central website from 22 June to Friday 17 July. Entries can be submitted until the deadline of Friday 7 August.

Submissions will be judged by a panel including partners of King’s Cross Central, and a small number of entries will be invited to develop ideas further in a second stage of the competition. The overall winner is expected to be notified in October 2009.

The programme for the re-erection of Gasholder No. 8 is yet to be confirmed, as it has to be considered as part of the wider King’s Cross Central development programme. It is likely that following the completion of the competition, full concept design work with the winning team will commence in 2011. Listed Building Consent and detailed planning consent will be required for the Gasholder No. 8 scheme.

Gasholder No.8 Contest – The Design Brief : Objectives

There are a number of objectives set out in the design brief, which entries will be evaluated against. The objectives state that King’s Cross Central wants designers to create a unique space, summarised by the following three headings:

1. A destination, a landmark and a symbol of King’s Cross
– an attraction with a clear sense of identity

2. Harnessing the history and character of King’s Cross
– visually attractive and coherent with a distinctive character
– a celebration of heritage as well as the natural environment

3. Variety of uses
– multi-use – used throughout the day and for most of the year – incorporating indoor and outdoor space
– an amenity for the primary school, a local resource and a visitor attraction
– in demand for commercial lettings, managed alongside other uses
– a playable landscape, incorporating a landmark play feature (adrenalin based or other) if possible
– responsive to neighbouring uses

Designs must work with the constraints of the site and make the most of the opportunities provided by a number of factors. Firstly, the location of the gasholder (adjacent to the canal and eventually close to residential buildings), secondly, they must also consider the importance of heritage – not only of the structure itself, but across the King’s Cross Central site. And they must also be aware of the micro-climate (higher than average noise levels due to the adjacent station, good sunlight, prevailing south west winds).

King’s Cross Central is being developed by the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, acting by its general partner, the King’s Cross Central General Partner Ltd (KCCGP). The KCCGP Board is chaired by Sir David Clementi and is currently a partnership between three companies which all have seats on the Board. These are:

– Argent King’s Cross Limited Partnership – is backed by Argent Group, one of the UK’s best respected property development companies and Hermes Real Estate on behalf of the BT Pension Scheme. Argent is the Asset Manager for King’s Cross Central. (
– London & Continental Railways Limited (LCR) delivered the award-winning High Speed 1 railway, including the rebirth of St Pancras International, on time and to budget. ( /
– DHL Supply Chain is a world-class provider of supply chain solutions. (

King’s Cross Central General Partnership Board Members
Sir David Clementi (Chairman)
Peter Freeman (Argent)
Roger Madelin (Argent)
David Partridge (Argent)
Alasdair Evans (Hermes Real Estate)
Stephen Jordan (LCR)
David Joy (LCR)
John Casey (DHL Supply Chain)
Roger Mann (DHL Supply Chain)

About King’s Cross Central
King’s Cross Central is the most significant development and regeneration opportunity in central London.

Planning permission is for a development of nearly 8 million sq ft. The permission includes up to 2,000 new homes, 20 new streets, 10 new major public spaces and the restoration of 20 historic buildings and structures which are to be retained and refurbished. As buildings come forward their detailed designs are submitted for reserved matters approval by Camden Council.

Up to 4.9m sq ft of office space and 500,000 sq ft of retail space will be available at the development which has the best public transport accessibility in London with access to 10 rail and underground lines and two major rail termini – St Pancras International and King’s Cross main line station.

University of the Arts, London will take a total of 420,000 sq ft at King’s Cross Central including the former Granary Building and the Eastern Transit Shed which will be imaginatively converted into the new campus for Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. The world famous College will take occupation ready for the 2011 / 2012 academic year.

King’s Cross Gasholder No.8 Design Contest information from competition organiser

RIBA Gasholder Bases Ideas Competition

Location: King’s Cross, North London, England, UK

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