Gasholder Bases

Gasholder Bases

Ideas Competition


What to do with empty gasholder bases?

National Grid are inviting architects and designers worldwide to consider opportunities for redeveloping empty gasholder bases into valuable structures across a variety of sites in the UK.

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.


The future of gasholder bases

This competition is being launched to raise the profile of the future of gasholder bases and the subsequent regeneration this will generate. It is important to note that National Grid are unlikely to be the developer for these sites, although they hope the winning designs will attract interest from potential developers and provide a guide for the future use of sites.

There are many gasholder sites where there is potential to leave the holder base empty and install a base, a simple internal structure, and a roof. This 'product' has potential to be more valuable than the land with a backfilled holder and a conventional building. The success of this approach relies on there being a viable market for such products.

National Grid Property Holdings Ltd (NGPH) has a portfolio of well over a hundred former gasholders to be dismantled within the coming years. The engineered bases of below-ground holders represent large voids in the sub-surface. The current practice is to backfill these voids however, this is both labour and resource intensive, even if the material used is from other sites where the material is surplus to requirements. There is also a high environmental cost with the transport of material and associated dis–amenity. For these reasons, there is an opportunity to investigate alternative uses of the void space.



The competition will follow the Open Ideas competition format and will be organised in the following phases:

Phase 1

Submission of concept designs which will be assessed anonymously.

Phase 2

A shortlist of up to five designs will be selected and the entrants invited to develop their ideas and present them to the evaluation panel.


The competition is open internationally to registered architects and other design related professionals. Architects should be registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) in the UK, or an equivalent, recognised overseas regulatory authority. Entrants should note that second stage competitors will be invited to attend an interview in the UK.

No member or employee of the promoting body, the evaluation panel, or any partner, close associate or employee of them is eligible to compete or assist a competitor.



The anticipated programme, which may be subject to variation, is as follows:

Competition Launch 31 July 2017
Deadline for entrants to raise questions 12 September 2017
Response to Questions issued 19 September 2017
Deadline for Phase 1 Design Ideas 10 October 2017 by 14:00 hrs
Pre-assessment of entries by Technical Panel w/c 16 October 2017
Evaluation session of Phase 1 Designs for full panel Tuesday 31 October 2017
Notify shortlist and unsuccessful entrants w/c 6 November 2017
Phase Two Brief issued w/c 6 November 2017
Deadline for Phase 2 Designs 24 November 2017
Final Interviews/Presentations 30 November 2017
Notification and result announced December 2017

Competition Contact

The competition is being managed and administered by RIBA Competitions on behalf of National Grid. All enquiries relating to the competition should be directed to:

  0113 203 1490