Bronze Commendation

Site section through the gasholder community, which is active for 30 years before the gasholders are relocated to seed another temporary community elsewhere.
Site section through the gasholder community, which is active for 30 years before the gasholders are relocated to seed another temporary community elsewhere.

The Thirty Years of Architecture – A Short Guide on Abandoning Accumulated Memories at the Mercy of an Inclement Weather
Architectural Association
Tutor: Ryan Dillon

Paolo Pisano’s project uses a redundant gasholder to create a succession of temporary ‘gasholder communities’. At the end of 30 years, the gasholder is relocated to form the framework for the next temporary housing development.

The concept is a commentary on what Pisano feels is a flawed listing process and was inspired by the varying fates of listed and non-listed Phoenix gasholders in London’s Vauxhall.

‘The listing mechanism is faulty because it gives an iconic status to some structures and devoids the value of everything else around it,’ he says.
Pisano sees his temporary gasholder communities as providing a 30-year delay in redevelopment of the sites, during which they can be utilised for ephemeral, inclusive housing. This breathing space allows further consideration of the site’s long-term future.

Axonometric of housing blocks and drill tower.
Axonometric of housing blocks and drill tower.

Each gasholder community member will subscribe to a building preservation trust that will maintain the gasholder structure. They will be allocated an allotment within the gasholder perimeter to colonise for the 30-year period.

The trust will encourage members to build using materials that would otherwise be deemed inappropriate to form a cluster of housing blocks beneath the sheltering structure. These materials include bricks made from a compound of salt and starch.

Once the gasholder has been dismantled and flown to another location to host its next community, the previous site will decline as the brick structures dissolve in the rain. Alternatively, the residents might find a way of protecting the structures to extend the lifetime of their community.