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21 CASE STUDY


Turning up the gas in King’s Cross


Three Grade II listed Victorian gasholder guide frames have been reinvented as high-end apartments in the centre of King’s Cross, London. Jack Wooler spoke to Arup’s Rob Buck and Ed Shearer about the complex refurbishment


Victorian gasholder guide frames stands restored and re-erected on the north bank of Regent’s Canal.


R


Providing 145 apartments, a gym, spa and other communal spaces, the three cylindri- cal apartment blocks offer luxury interiors, roof gardens, basement parking, and are linked by a dramatic central courtyard. Gasholders London is part of the wider


King’s Cross Central development. The single landowner at King’s Cross, the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, claims an unusual level of continuity and commit- ment, which has helped to foster a smooth development and delivery process. As the structural and facade engineer, Arup has worked closely with Argent on its vision for King’s Cross Central since taking ownership of the land in 2000. On the Gasholders development, in collaboration with the architects WilkinsonEyre, Arup engineered the design of the complex civil, structural geotechnical and facade aspects of the project. Hoare Lea led on building services design, and the project was procured via a design and build contract with Carillion.


HERITAGE


THE GUIDE FRAMES HAVE FOR OVER A CENTURY DEFINED THE LANDSCAPE AT KING’S CROSS, BOTH FOR THE LOCAL COMMUNITY AND FOR MILLIONS OF LONDONERS AND VISITORS


The gasworks opened in the 1820s, manufacturing ‘town gas’ from coal brought in by rail. The distinctive ‘Triplet’, an inter- locking cast iron guide frame encompassing three gas holders, is the backbone of this project – it was built in 1880 driven by a surge in public demand for gas. “The frames have for over a century defined the landscape at King’s Cross, both for the local community and for millions of Londoners and visitors who pass by year after year,” Rob Buck, associate at Arup, told Housebuilder & Developer. In fact, four gas holder guide frames were still standing when the development started in the early 2000s, each with Grade II listing in recognition of their cultural importance, not least as surviving examples of Victorian engineering prowess. The ‘Triplet’ plus the fourth ‘No.8’ frame would be dismantled, restored and returned to a


WWW.HBDONLINE.CO.UK


ising above the canal docks and Victorian warehouses north of Kings Cross, a group of iconic


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