MacCormac Jamieson Prichard's long-awaited Ruskin Library is formally opened by Lancaster University vice-chancellor Princess Alexandra this Saturday - but the practice has more than the library to celebrate. In its biggest commission to date, it has been called in to take over design and masterplanning of the £500 million Battersea Park project on the south side of the Thames opposite Victoria Station. Richard MacCormac has known the power station since his schooldays when he used to pass it on the train into Victoria. He painted it (above, left) at the age of 15.
Working with lead consultant Ove Arup & Partners, mjp will be responsible for design and masterplanning. An outline permission to designs by Arup Associates already exists, and will now be modified. Among the elements mjp will add is a bridge link to Victoria Station, allowing visitors to start their experience of the Disney-style development from the journey in. A new station will be provided, plus another station for a link line from Clapham Junction main line. mjp's station for the Jubilee Line Extension stood them in good stead to win the commission, which followed a limited competition last summer and the near-appointment of John Outram, who quit the job before Christmas. Specifically, mjp will be working on interiors ideas for the power station, housing (aj 23.4.98), theatres and hotels, with associate architect Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo.
Meanwhile the opening of the Ruskin Library will make accessible for the first time artworks, diaries, letter, manuscripts, 3500 books and 1000 original photographs. It was funded with a £2.3 million Heritage Lottery grant, and a donation of £500,000 by an anonymous donor to set up an endowment to help with running costs.