That old eyesore

Three years ago we helped form the Lithgow Branch of the National Trust. One of the things that drove us to it was the pointless demolition of the old gas holder near the centre of town,

“that old eyesore” as it was known. A valiant defence campaign by a resident (who we later discovered was an industrial archeologist) was contemptuously dismissed by the local Council whose elected troglodytes knew better.

The empty littered site sits there still, an untidy sterile monument to the tidy town mentality. The brave campaigner had proposed converting the structure to a sort of winter garden set in a small park in an area of town that is desperate for a bit of green public space.

So when we saw this we almost wept for what could have been.

This a project by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, the conversion of three heritage listed (yes, they heritage list them in civilised cities) gas holders in the Regents Canal area of Kings Cross, London. The adaptively reused structures will contain 144 apartments and a circular courtyard cut through the centre.

All it takes is vision and imagination, things which, like common sense, are not very common in some places.