NEW BUZZ SURROUNDS FARADAY
'I started my career with the Faraday Memorial and I'm going to finish my career with the Faraday Memorial.'
So says veteran Brutalist Rodney Gordon.
Gordon believes with good reason that he could be about to revitalise the Faraday Memorial - that rundown monument to Michael Faraday, the man who discovered electricity.
As part of the planned regeneration of Elephant and Castle, the structure may be transformed into a south London offshoot of the Science Museum.
Designed in 1959 while Gordon worked for London County Council, and built in 1961, the memorial, which currently houses an electricity sub-station, never really lived up to its billing because changes were made to the design before it was built. It was, however, listed at Grade II in 1996.
Gordon - who has won provisional backing from English Heritage for his designs - is proposing to lift the memorial off the ground and hang it over a glass facade enclosing a shop and reception.
For the job, Gordon, who is credited with Portsmouth's demolished Tricorn Shopping Centre among other buildings of that era, has brought together a team comprising himself, Ray Baum, Malcolm Wood, Victor Wybrow, Peter Abbott and George Kaimakis.
Below the structure will be two levels of exhibitions, giving a combined space of 1,440m 2. A hole will be punctured in the roof of the memorial, allowing light to seep in through the building, down to the basement.
However, the key move for Science Museum bosses is the addition of a new lecture theatre adjacent to the memorial itself, which will be accessed from the exhibitions.
This will be subterranean, and will accommodate an audience of 250. On top of this would be a café that could be accessed from outside the building as well as in.
The lighting treatment of the memorial's steel facade is hugely important to the success of the project, according to Gordon. He is supporting the retention of the lighting scheme put in place following a Blue Peter competition in 1996.
It is understood that Southwark Council, which is overseeing the transformation of the whole Elephant and Castle area, is supportive of the initiative.