James Clark — Public Holder
Public Holder — An infrastructural approach to reclaiming public land and public services on vacant post-gas holder sites. By James Clark.
Former Gasworks Site – Abbey Lane, Stratford, London Borough of Newham
A mixed-use, flexible, community building which challenges existing approaches to repurposing vacant post-gas holder sites.
In a society which relied upon coal gas we created a standardised Victorian architecture that did not hold people but only services – the gas holder. The National Grid is dismantling these exoskeletons and selling sites to developers cheaply, often leading to homogenous private schemes that simulate a circular gasholder form.
Rather than merely simulating a gas holder’s aesthetic, this project retains the public service and infrastructural quality of the gas holder’s architecture. The proposal is a single organism within a surrounding public park. Held up by two cores on either side, the infrastructure protects the ground plane below for public recreational use. The infrastructure has structureless, cantilevered floor plates for interchangeable mixed-community programmes.
The National Grid owns over 500 post-gasworks sites in the UK and over 70 sites in London. This site strategy is, therefore, a prototype for significant replication.