London's newest park is a gas (holder)

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The circular guide frame of Gasholder No. 8 is 25 m (82 ft) high(Credit: John Sturrock)

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Recently, we've seen public parks created – or planned for creation – on old railways, in old trolley terminals, on streets, bridges and piers. A new park in London, however, is more unusual than all of these. It's built inside the structure of an old gasholder.

Gasholder Park sits at the side of the Regent's Canal in the King's Cross area of London, not far from the King's Cross Pond Club freshwater swimming pond and the Skip Garden mobile restaurant. The gasholder structure wasn't always located there, though.

Gasholder No. 8 used to sit at the site of what is now Pancras Square. According to the King's Cross Central Limited Partnership, it was constructed in the 1850s as part of the largest gasworks in London. The Grade II-listed Victorian structure was decommissioned in 2000, however, before being carefully dismantled in 2011, refurbished and reconstructed at its new home.

Designed by Bell Phillips Architects, the park has a circular lawn that is surrounded by the circular frame of the gasholder. The frame is 25 m (82 ft) high and has an internal diameter of 40 m (131 ft). A new steel canopy, meanwhile, encircles the edge of the park, providing shelter. "It's an unusual and vast space, with a character best appreciated by standing in the middle of the lawn, looking up at the gasholder frames," says Anthony Peter, project director at the developer, Argent.

The park's planting was designed by Dan Pearson, who has also designed the planting for London's proposed Garden Bridge. It is aimed at providing "color, texture, sensory stimulation and seasonal variation within and beyond the space." In addition to providing a space to relax overlooking the canal, the park can be used as a venue for events, displays and celebrations.

Three other historic gasholders are also said to have been dismantled and are due for reconstruction as part of an apartment development next to Gasholder Park.

Gasholder Park opened earlier this week. The video below shows a timelapse of its construction.

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