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Revealed: first look at BIG's proposed new square at Battersea

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The AJ can reveal the first images of BIG’s competition-winning scheme for a key new square at Battersea Power Station

The so-called Malaysia Square scheme - which will mark the New York and Copenhagen-based practice’s UK debut - will link the southern entrance of Giles Gilbert Scott’s Grade II*-listed landmark with Foster + Partners and Frank Gehry’s proposed ‘Electric Boulevard’ high street.

Rumours of BIG’s appointment emerged last month (see AJ 12.11.14), but the Battersea Power Station Development – the Malaysian-backed company overseeing the £8billion scheme in south-west London refused to comment.

However the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who is currently in Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur flying the flag for UK firms, confirmed the Danish star’s victory.

The ‘urban canyon’ will be split over two levels with integrated bridges and stairways ‘inspired by Malaysia’s landscape and geology’.

Plans include a fountain in the square’s central amphitheatre which will be designed in the shape of a hibiscus flower – Malaysia’s national flower.

The project has been described by one source as among the most important schemes within Rafael Viñoly’s masterplan for the site, and a ‘front-door’ to the development.

It is understood the design team includes lighting specialists Spiers + Major and engineers to the stars AKTII.

Despite worldwide success, BIG has so far been unable to get a foothold in the UK. In April this year, the practice narrowly missed out in the competition to redevelop the grounds around London’s Natural History Museum, won by Niall McLaughlin.

Battersea aerial - Foster and Gehry

Battersea aerial - Foster and Gehry




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Readers' comments (1)

  • Public Square seems a disingenuous description of this back alley space.
    As with many of the other spaces being created around Nine Elms I can't see how sunlight will penetrate when the proportions of the adjacent buildings and there orientations are so high relative to the scale of the ground space. Decent public squares in our climate needs some warmth and potential for activity other than passing through, but the renders don't appear to indicate the reality.
    For most of the year this space will be heavily occluded. This lack of warmth, play of light and colour is further diminished by the multi-level circulation. Given the proportions of the canyons being created and exposure at one location to the west I also question what wind tunnel effects might be expected.
    Sadly it seems climate and context are absent.
    Walter Menteth

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