Victorian gasholder at London's King's Cross reopens as park

Gasholder Park, a new green space in the heart of London's King's Cross, has now opened to the public.

Gasholder Park under construction. Image: John Sturrock
Gasholder Park under construction. Image: John Sturrock

The park sits on the side of the Regent's Canal and contains a circular lawn inside the carefully restored guide frame of a Grade II Victorian gasholder, Gasholder No. 8. A contemporary steel canopy encircles the edge of the park.

Planting around the frame was designed by Dan Pearson Studio, offering colour, texture, sensory stimulation and seasonal variation. Both turf and other planting were carried out by Willerby Landscapes. Dan Pearson and Willerby have both been involved in planting schemes across the King's Cross redevelopment area.

Gasholder No. 8 was built in the 1850s and once formed part of the largest gas works in London. It was a familiar landmark until it was decommissioned in 2000.

The fragile 25 metre-high circular guide frame was dismantled from its old location, where Pancras Square is now, in 2011. It was refurbished and reerected in 2013 in its new home, next to schools and apartments in the Plimsoll Building.

Within the cast-iron guide frame, London-based practice Bell Phillips Architects has added a 30 metre-diameter polished stainless steel canopy that forms a continuous colonnade around a wide grass area overlooking the canal.

Three other historic gasholders have been similarly dismantled and are being rebuilt next to Gasholder Park, where they are being re-used as part of an apartment development designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects.

Bell Phillips Architects won a design competition to design the park in 2009. Partner Hari Phillips said: "To design a new use for such a well-known London landmark was both a daunting responsibility and an unmissable opportunity.

'We have hugely enjoyed watching Gasholder Park take shape, and we hope that it will become a much-loved public space as King's Cross continues to emerge as one of London's most interesting new quarters."

Anthony Peter, project director at developer Argent, said: "It's an unusual and vast space, with a character best appreciated by standing in the middle of the lawn, looking up at the gasholder frames.

"The park is now open all day, every day, to everyone, and we are looking forward to seeing it used by the primary school children from the neighbouring King's Cross Academy. It has been one of the most complex and challenging projects to deliver at King's Cross to date, and very satisfying to see completed."

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