Apartments Designed to Recall Gasholders


Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo recently converted a former gasworks in Hilversum, located in the Netherlands, into a residential area that features cylindrical apartment buildings reminiscent of gasholders, now gone.

Villa Industria

The complex, known as Villa Industria, includes 357 homes. The Regional Energy Supply Company gasworks was relocated to the edge of the city but was eventually enclosed due to residential expansion. With the relocation, the decision was made to turn the site into a mixture of affordable housing, units for small businesses and sports facilities.

Influenced by the site’s industrial heritage, Mecanoo created a design that was both unique to the district and spans a 74,000-square-meter (796,529-square-foot) plot. The appearance of the buildings is kept cohesive with the use of red brick and materials, such as steel and glass, that are reminiscent of the plot’s original purpose. Continuing the nod to the past, three residential buildings are enclosed by cylindrical steel frames evocative of the original gasholders. One residential building features a vaulted roof that reminds the viewer of a warehouse.

Development amenities also include a swimming pool, which was also re-clad in brick, steel and glass to keep in line with the aesthetic of the rest of the complex. Spaces devoted to physical fitness, which include a fitness center and a sports hall, are supported by steel columns left exposed. Structures situated around the perimeter of the site match the height of nearby buildings.

“The urban plan prioritises public space for pedestrians and cyclists,” the architects write on their website. “Recessed parking throughout the site frees up space for a green environment with water features and a centrally located park. The courtyards consist of private gardens with an intimate character.”

Viac Installatieadviseurs served as the mechanical and electrical engineer on the project, with Ingenieursbureau voor bouwtechniek, Goudstikker De Vries working as the structural engineer.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Brick; Color + Design; Design; Europe; Program/Project Management; Residential Construction

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