These large buildings were built just before 1900, able to hold 12 million cubic feet (360 thousand cubic meters) of coal gas. Perhaps needless to say, coal gas isn’t in use anymore, so what to do with their ornate and richly detailed brick-ness?
Can we just pause here for a moment and admire that ornateness? These are, after all, “only” industrial and utilitarian structures. But it was understood that these were civic buildings, and that our surroundings influence our experience and quality of life. So it wasn’t a stretch to ensure that such prominent hunks would be worthy of those who had to view them and as such given a well designed exterior.
Returning to that question, it’s likely no surprise (if you’ve seen anything I’ve posted here before) that the answer is one of adaptive reuse. Much like the Battersea Power Station, these four gasometers have been re-imagined into a mixed use neighbourhood. The domed steel structures were transformed into giant atriums for new construction that rings along the exterior, acting like a giant indoor garden for the new units. Each building was redone by a different architect, and as such each has a different design within. It’s as cool as it sounds.
The Vienna Gasometers, re-envisioned by Jean Nouvel, Coop Himmelblau, Manfred Wedhorn, and Wilhelm Holzbauer.