Paul Dixon

London-based architecture firm Outpost has won RIBA's Gasholder Bases National Competition, with their entry, succinctly titled, "Gasholder Base." Launched in July 2017, the international design competition called for innovative ideas imagining the reuse of former gasholder bases across the U.K. "Redeveloping an empty holder base represents a potentially better environmental and cost option compared with the typical practice of backfilling them with resources that could be used elsewhere," according to the competition's website.


The winning project features an incremental design scheme that tends to address the U.K.'s affordable housing shortage. The multistory, mixed-use units sit alongthe perimeter of a circular, sunken courtyard that will function as a communal space. Each unit will come standard with an empty, open-plan interior space that provides prospective owners with flexibility and freedom in choosing a layout, finishes, and decorative details. "This can also make it more affordable, delivered to market at a price tag in reach for buyers and renters on average national incomes," noted the architects on their website.

Although there are no official plans to bring the project from concept to reality just yet, National Grid, the U.K.'s electricity and gas utility company who commissioned RIBA to organize the competition, expects that the winning scheme will set forth an exemplary case for the future repurposing of the sites, and hopefully catching the eyes of potential developers.