Gasholder Bases

Gasholder Bases

Ideas Competition

Competition Winner


Outpost is a London based Architecture & Design studio, founded in 2016 by Robin Sjoholm and Thomas Housden.

The UK has a well-publicised shortage of affordable housing and somewhat less publicised, but of equal note, availability of affordable flexible workshops, studios and workspaces in our towns and cities. We saw the opportunity to develop a proposal that addressed these national issues in a simple and economical way.

We believe that the dense circular arrangement of mixed-use modules has the potential to generate a strong and vibrant community. We drew inspiration from the unique Tulou villages of the Hakka community of China, that are earth walled structures, typically in circular form, with timber constructed buildings arranged internally, that house an entire village community.

Too many developments sell something people don't want, that omits the opportunity to create and modify your own space. Our scheme proposes that each module is brought to market only as an open-plan shell. Each occupant would determine the layout themselves, with the freedom to adapt and build their workspace or home over time to suit their business and/or family. We believe this would be hugely attractive to first-time buyers, and those type of industries that require this level of freedom.

Outpost presented a beautifully simple vision in their submission for which they should be commended. Their cost effective, sustainable design proposal provides an appropriate response to a shortage of affordable housing and workshop spaces across the country. The decision to build out from the base structures, effectively lining the inside wall with a timber framed, modular construction, is inventive yet pragmatic, the serrated roofline presenting a unique but familiar domestic appearance to the surrounding. Key to their success was close attention to the brief and a solution which could easily provide a sustainable future for the country's stock of gasholder bases.

Russ Davenport, Faulkner Browns, RIBA Adviser

Our design originated from studies looking at the pure form of the gasholder base, the simple circle, and ways of subdividing that circle. From those various geometric studies, we arrived at the concept of the single repeatable module. A form made of a simple shell and structure. In its single form, an intentionally architecturally simple proposal. When multiplied, it forms a more complex overall architectural form. The module is a high-quality solution, yet a simple system, with ease of construction, adaptability and build-cost in mind.

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