An industrial monument like Battersea Power Station deserves much better than to be hidden behind walls of generic bling-bling architecture.
This week Norman Foster and Frank Gehry unveiled their plans for a new development behind Battersea Power Station. Their designs complete an earlier masterplan for the abandoned industrial site by Rafael Vinoly.
After several proposals that went nowhere, i’m glad there finally is a new future looming for the building that used to be something like the gate to London back when I came to visit as a student. In those days the Eurostar still arrived at Waterloo and Battersea Power Station was the first and last London monument I used to see.
But did we really need a bunch of starchitects to rehabilitate the derelict icon of Pink Floyd fame? Their shiny objects might as well have been proposed in Dubai or Hong Kong, as Richard Godwin noted. They don’t dialogue with the brick cathedral in any way.
And while future inhabitants might enjoy views of the iconic chimneys, it looks like the landmark will be completely invisible from the land side (and from the tracks to Waterloo Station).
I’m sad to see this much disrespect for such an important ruin. Battersea Power Station is not only an important reference in pop and film culture, but also a gigantic monument to industrial London (below a great image from 1937, before the station was doubled in size).
The abandoned power temple is a reminder of the days when London was exposed to coal dust and pea soup fog. When the city was still home to factory workers and dockers.
Today even the cool young creative types are priced out of London, writes Alex Proud. The city is losing its cool and becomes the exclusive playground of bankers and oligarchs. Their big money can buy anything, and for the sake of profit they will sell even the soul of the city. Doesn’t matter if they slowly destroy what makes the place cool and attractive in the first place.