Winning scheme, 1st prize, RIBA Gasholder Bases national competition.
The competition brief was to come up with inspiring and innovative ideas for the future uses of gasholder bases – the sub-surface voids left behind once an old gasholder has been demolished.
We saw the opportunity to develop a scheme that addressed the national issue of a well-publicised shortage of affordable housing as well as the somewhat less publicised, but of equal note, lack of availability of affordable flexible workshops, studios and workspaces in our towns and cities.
At street level we developed a familiar, human-scale domestic scene, unusual though in its condition on the curve, and when experienced against multiple adjacent gasholder bases. This is followed by a radically different experience on the inside of the gasholder, more evocative of an industrial landscape of tall narrow dockyard buildings, arranged around a large sunken communal courtyard, with a focal point of planting and trees at its heart. We believe that the dense circular arrangement of mixed-use modules has the potential to generate a strong and vibrant community.
Each cell is proposed as being offered as a bare, open-plan shell with the intention that each occupant, of workspace or home, will have the freedom to determine their own custom fitout. This can also make it more affordable, delivered to market at a price tag in reach for buyers and renters on average national incomes.