Grüner (I)konus – Mei architects and planners, together with an interdisciplinary team, wins the tender for the transformation of the monumental Gasometer in Münster into a nature-inclusive residential tower surrounded by a lush park. The team – made up of UTB Berlin, Mei architects and planners, Peter Bastian Architekten, Engie and Inside Outside – developed a rock-solid concept and convinced Stadtwerke Münster with a bold and Paris Proof plan that excels on three essential core ideas: fostering communities; integral sustainability; and creating a strong identity, with the building’s history providing inspiration for a new future. The iconic gasholder, which once powered the city, is undergoing a green transformation, becoming yet the renewed epicentre of innovation and communal living.
Renewed energy in the iconic Gasometer
The Gasometer in Münster is a gas holder dating back to the 1950s. For decades, the Gasometer supplied fossil natural gas to the city of Münster and immediate surroundings. In 2005, the building fell into disuse in its original function. Preserving its iconic character and identity; inspiring healthy living as well as bringing energy and greenery back to the city; and encouraging local community involvement are the main cornerstones of this ambitious project.
From its original function, the Gasometer is composed of a closed steel plinth about 12 metres high, topped by a steel open structure within which a telescopic cylinder was guided, storing natural gas.
The steel frame and plinth are retained in this redevelopment and form an iconic appearance from which the new programme derives its identity. The vast majority of the programme will be realised in a new timber building constructed within the original steel frame. Future residents will soon live in a green and ultra-sustainable new building complex, where the rich history comes to life every day and where innovation and heritage come together harmoniously. The new façade refers to the historical façade of the gasometer and generates energy at the same time. In this way, the Gasometer once again supplies the city with energy, but this time in a sustainable way.
Healthy user concept for all residents of Münster
The theme of the usage concept focuses on healthy foods and living and is designed for all inhabitants of Münster. From base to top, the Gasometer will soon contain different zones, each with a specific function, so that the building as a whole contains a diverse and rich programme.
In the plinth, the originally relatively closed part of the building, a mobility hub will be realised with parking, bicycle storage, bike café, in combination with a public swimming pool.
In the part above, various public facilities will be programmed in several floors, such as a theatre, co-working spaces, commercial spaces and a health centre. From ground level, an inviting pedestrian route will be added by means of an aerial bridge, leading visitors through the treetops of the surrounding park to the public functions and thereby creating an elevated, lively plinth.
In the upper half of the Gasometer, housing will be realised with an extensive mix of target groups and income classes – including a large proportion in the social sector – that contributes to fair diversity. To provide these residences with sufficient daylight and outdoor space without being affected by traffic noise from the adjacent motorway, the upper volume has been stepped out on the inside and provided with spacious galleries and terraces with an abundant greenery. The gallery typology around the green and serene atrium brings people together as a matter of course. The round shape reinforces this. Niches in the gallery also allow the gallery to be used as an outdoor space.
A clever light, air and irrigation system plus a rainwater basin at the bottom of the Gasometer create an exuberant green oasis, fostering biodiversity. A public roof garden and communal vegetable garden will be created on the roof of the top residences.
The building’s design with a sound-sensitive exterior and a starkly contrasting quiet interior ensures comfortable living on both sides, depending on what the user requires at any given time.
Sustainable community building with impact
The Gasometer is an important monument, a landmark for Münster and paragon of engineering art and innovation. The transformation of the Gasometer reinforces this while focusing on sustainability, climate friendliness and health. The main load-bearing structure is made of wood and recycled materials, minimising the building’s CO2 emissions and resulting in a Paris Proof building.
The external facade of the Gasometer will be clad with PV panels, making the building not only self-sufficient, but also generating sustainable energy for the city. Through the integrated news display, the Gasometer communicates with the city, sharing information such as the amount of energy being produced or the coming week’s cultural programme.
Multidisciplinary Gaso Team
The project team consists of the Municipality of Münster, developer UTB Berlin, chief architect Mei architects and planners, collaborating and local architect Peter Bastian Architekten BDA, Engie Deutschland and landscape architects Inside Outside. Collectively, they are working on an integrated plan for a sustainable, inclusive and vibrant regeneration of the Gasometer, bringing together community, greenery and grand architecture, with the building serving as a catalyst for the redevelopment of a completely new sustainable vertical urban district.
For more information about Mei and this project, mail to: email@example.com.