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From gas holder to green icon

Together with a multidisciplinary team, Mei is working on an integrated design for a future-proof, inclusive and vibrant redevelopment of the Gasometer, bringing together community, nature and great architecture, using the building as a catalyst for the redevelopment of an entirely new vertical urban district.
The robust gasometer will be transformed into a nature-inclusive residential tower, surrounded by a lush park, with the concept based on three essential core ideas: to preserve and build on the iconic character and identity of the Gasometer; to inspire healthy living and give energy and greenery back to the city; and to foster an engaged local community. The Gasometer, which once powered the city, is undergoing a green transformation, once again becoming the epicentre of innovation and communal living.

Project info

In development

UTB Projektmanagement GmbH

Diversified housing programme (social, care and free sector) combined with mobility hub and mixed programme, including co-working and commercial spaces, gym, theatre and public swimming pool.

23.000 sqm GFA

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 due to a new natural gas pipeline, but its iconic value for the city remained. In the same year, the gasometer was appointed a monument, safeguarding the building as a landmark in the Münster cityscape.

Gasometer historisch beeld

From its original function, the Gasometer was constructed from a closed steel plinth about 12 metres high, topped by a steel open structure within which a telescopic cylinder was guided, storing natural gas. This cylinder weighed about 800 tonnes and was held up only by internal pressure. This upper part floated in a water basin of 30,000 cubic metres, which ensured that the gas could not escape from the storage area.

The steel frame and plinth have been preserved in the redevelopment and form an iconic image from which the new programme derives its identity. The vast majority of the programme will be realised in a new wooden building erected within the original steel frame. The new residents will reside in a green new-build complex, where the rich history comes alive every day and where innovation and heritage blend harmoniously. The new façade refers to the historic façade of the gasometer and generates energy at the same time. In this way, the Gasometer once again provides the city with energy, but this time in a sustainable way.

Healthy user concept for all inhabitants of Münster

Because of noise impact in the surrounding area, a semi-closed exterior was chosen. The inside is excavated like a Konus and has a green outdoor space, from which a typology of terraces and dwellings with gallery access emerges.

After the transformation, the 50-metre-high Gasometer has an area of about 22,000m2, with a cross-section of 50 metres as well.

The three main cornerstones of this ambitious project are: preserving its iconic character and identity; inspiring healthy living and giving energy and greenery back to the city; and encouraging local community involvement.

An extensive and inclusive public programme

The theme of the user concept focuses on healthy eating and living and is designed for all residents of Münster. From bottom to top, the Gasometer contains several rings, each with a specific function, making the building as a whole a diverse and rich programme.

Encounter is central to the lower half of the building. A mobility hub will be created in the plinth, the originally relatively closed part of the building, where Münster’s bicycle friendliness will also be honoured.

The bicycle city of Münster serves as an example for other cities, and bicycles are also given priority in the Gasometer. Besides a depot for regular bikes, cargo bikes and e-bikes, the hub also houses a bike café for repairs and rentals. Other functions such as a public swimming pool and fitness rooms further boost the meeting theme in the building.

Above the plinth, various public facilities cover the programme in several layers. These include a theatre, co-working spaces, commercial spaces a health centre. Visitors can use an aerial bridge to walk an inviting pedestrian route from ground level, leading them through the treetops of the trees in the surrounding park to the public functions, creating a raised, lively plinth.

The upper half of the Gasometer contains the residential programme with extensive mix of target groups and income classes – including a large proportion in the social sector – that contributes to fair diversity.

There are group flats (studios with a common area and outdoor space), small flats for singles and the elderly and larger family flats with several bedrooms. The social rented and free sector flats are deliberately placed in a mixed pattern in the building to bring people together. In this way, this healthy residential mix also helps to prevent loneliness.

A public roof garden and communal vegetable garden will be created on the roof of the top residences.

Comfortable living with plenty of sun, greenery and calm

To provide the residences with sufficient daylight and outdoor space without being affected by noise from the adjacent motorway, the volume has been gradually excavated on the inside and provided with spacious galleries and terraces with exuberant greenery. The gallery typology around the green and peaceful atrium brings people together as a matter of course. The circular shape reinforces this. Niches in the gallery also allow the gallery to be used as an outdoor space. Het ontwerp van het gebouw met een geluidsbelaste buitenkant en een sterk The design of the building with a noise-intensive exterior and a strongly contrasting serene interior allows for comfortable living on both sides, depending on what the user needs at the time.

“In a place where industry dominated until today, an exciting icon for the city is emerging. With rich history and a healthy future, where everyone can feel at home.”

Sustainable community building with impact

The Gasometer is an important monument, a landmark for Münster and paragon of engineering and innovation. The transformation of the Gasometer reinforces this by innovating once again with a healthy building: the design supports and enhances biodiversity, water retention, climate friendliness and CO2 reduction. The principal load-bearing structure is made of timber columns and beams and recycled materials, making the building adaptable over time and Paris Proof.

Biodiversity flourishes in the lavish green oasis inside the building thanks to a smart light, air and irrigation system and a rainwater basin at the bottom of the Gasometer. A public roof garden and communal vegetable garden will be created on the roof of the top residences.

Visitors meander around the water basin on a spiral staircase, which collects rainwater from the galleries above and uses it to irrigate the planting in the atrium during dry periods. The water reflecting the daylight at the bottom of the monumental barrel is also a reminder of the water that also used to be in this barrel as a water lock for the stored gas.

The exterior of the Gasometer will be clad with PV panels, making the building not only self-sufficient, but also providing sustainable energy back to the city. Through the integrated news ticker, the Gasometer communicates with the city, and information can be shared about, for example, the amount of energy generated or the upcoming cultural programme.


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