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From gasholders to…
10th September 2019

The design team responsible for the redevelopment of three redundant gasholders in the Kings Cross area into apartments used a unitised version of the Wictec system from WICONA for the façades.

Dating from the 1880s, the trio of interlocking skeletal drums that once held supplies of gas have now been relocated to a site near the Regents Canal. Now containing 145 residences, The Gasholders have earned developer Argent and Wilkinson Eyre Architects a RIBA London Award 2018 and a RIBA National Award 2018.

Within the Grade II steel framework that was restored at Shepley Engineering’s Yorkshire workshops, the triple glazed and thermally broken aluminium Wicline window solution provides the occupants with thermal performance and weather resistance as well as acoustic control. The package was delivered by Italian Project Manager, Frener and Reifer, working in consultation with Wicona at Ulm in Germany. The consultancy, Arup filled the dual roles of façade and structural engineers.

The specially adapted version of the Wicona Wicline 75 system was tested by leading German laboratory, ift Rosenheim, delivering the highest air permeability classification,  Class A4  A dynamic watertightness test resulted in a pass at a pressure of 600 Pa. Safe wind loadings of 1.95 kN/m2 positive pressure, and 2.55 kN/m2 negative pressure have been derived from the tests.

The RIBA Judges said: “The heavy industrial structures in their full restoration remain as a dominant feature on the new skyline of Kings Cross. Sitting comfortably within these structures are the three residential drums, clad in a delicate and intricate aesthetic of steel and glass panels, with a veil of external shutters pierced in a pattern of circles to allow dappled light into the rooms.

“These create a homogenous yet dynamic skin, paying homage to the original drums which once sat in these gasholder guide frames. However, they also fulfil a functional and environmental requirement for modern living. The judges were impressed by the facade design: addressing the challenges of privacy, solar shading and window dressing, while celebrating the industrial heritage of the gasholders.”

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