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Rob Tincknell: ‘Committed to Battersea’

After years of delays and false starts Rob Tincknell, chief executive of the Battersea Power Station Development Company, talks about delivering the latest vision for the new owners of the iconic London landmark

What does it feel like to be back in charge of Battersea Power Station’s redevelopment?
This is an enormously exciting project and I’m thrilled to be leading it. The combination of financial strength, broad political support, secured planning permission and the Northern Line extension gives me immense confidence that we’ll succeed in creating a stunning new town centre for London.

What does it mean to have a UK team leading the project?
Our London experience and contacts are strong and will enable a smooth delivery process. The backbone of the team also has plenty of experience in delivering large-scale, mixed-use schemes such as Battersea. The power station has long been held as a symbol for British design and industry, and this will be mirrored as we move forward.

Why are you the right person to oversee the project?
My experience of delivering large-scale developments around the world that are both residential and commercial has given me a broad outlook that will be essential going forward.

What impact has the new Malaysian owner had on the overall vision?
The main principles of the masterplan, which gained planning permission, will remain broadly the same. The Malaysian owner will make this vision a reality by injecting energy, enthusiasm and, most importantly, experience into the project.

Battersea_Power_Station_Park

What changes could be made to the masterplan over the project’s 15-year timescale? 
The new owners have extensive knowledge and experience of large, mixed-use developments and placemaking. There are no plans for any material change, but there is a possibility of minor improvements over the lifetime of the project.

What sort of architecture could feature in later phases and how will you procure future architects?
It was always the intention to create a variety of architectural forms and structures on the site, and having a number of architects working on the project to deliver Rafael Viñoly’s vision is the best way to achieve this goal.

What is the single most important ingredient needed to ensure success this time around? Commitment, and that is now in place.

Readers' comments (1)

  • A sycophantic and uncritical interview, even by the standards of the architectural press. Among the questions you should have asked Rob Tincknell are of course the following:

    Why did Treasury Holdings not complete any substantive work in the five years they owned Battersea Power Station between 2006 and 2011, when you were in charge?

    Why isn’t his project to refurbish Battersea Power Station being tackled in sensible, achievable phases; like every other successful reuse project of an industrial building?

    Why in particular didn’t Treasury Holdings provide free public access to the historic interiors of the building? Why aren’t the new Malaysian owners planning to do this?

    If the answer to the previous question is “funding”, why don’t you involve the Heritage Lottery Fund in funding the repairs, in exchange for free public access to the interiors?

    Why is it the case that for every year of the last 25 years, the owners have always said the work will start “next year”, but never actually does?

    Why is the river walk connecting to Battersea Park still not built when your colleagues at Treasury Holdings promised at a meeting in 2011 that this would be done?

    Why are you planning to build a building between the railway viaduct and Battersea Power Station, when this will block the single most dramatic view of the building; ie from the passing train?

    Why are you intending to demolish the chimneys when an independent report established as long ago as 2005 that there is no need to do this?

    Why in particular are you still intending to demolish the chimneys when, in 2010, the Twentieth Century Society showed your staff successful examples of repaired 1930’s reinforced concrete and they accepted that the chimneys could indeed be repaired using these techniques?

    Why are you proposing additional pavilion storeys at the top of Battersea Power Station, when this will spoil the building’s distinctive silhouette?

    Similarly, why are you proposing new windows in the flank walls of the building, when a key aspect of the building’s aesthetic is its large unadorned areas of brickwork?

    Why are there still buddleias growing out of the chimney pedestals of the listed building?

    Why should we believe your assurances your £ multi-billion project for Battersea Power Station will happen when you don’t even carry out the most basic maintenance?

    Why should we have confidence that Sime Darby (one of the new owners) will look after Battersea Power Station when, according to a Friends of the Earth report, they are responsible for illegal logging in the rain forests of Sumatra and Borneo, contributing to global warming and endangering the habitat of the orang-utan and other species?

    Why are you currently carrying out a “public consultation”, when it is clear that you have no intention of responding to any of the concerns raised?

    Perhaps you would put some of these questions to Rob Tincknell as well?

    Keith Garner
    020 7585 0421 / 07876 163638
    keithwgarner@btinternet.com

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