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Revealed: plans for chimney-top viewing platform at Battersea power station


Wilkinson Eyre has released new proposals for the overhaul of Battersea Power Station which include a roof garden and a ‘great glass elevator’ in one of the chimneys

The detailed plans to overhaul the Grade II*-listed south London landmark - the centrepiece of Rafael Viñoly’s wider £8 billion vision for the riverside site - will go out to public consultation later this week ahead of a planning submission before the end of the year.

The scheme, which features 40,000m² of shops, 58,000m² of offices and 248 homes around a ‘garden square in the sky’, aims to ‘preserve and restore the architectural splendour of the building’ and open up the turbines halls.

As well as plans for a new full-height void space behind the southern wall of the Boiler House, the practice has designed a ‘concealed lift’ which links to a public viewing platform at the top of north-west chimney.

Describing the design proposals Jim Eyre, director of Wilkinson Eyre, said: ‘We wanted to ensure that the proposed designs were consistent with and sympathetic to Sir Gilbert Scott’s masterpiece, with the chimneys and turbine halls remaining the dominant features of the building.

‘It was important to us to retain the Power Station’s sense of scale and visual drama, which is achieved through design features such as the full-height glass void behind the southern wall and the vast, central atrium.  It was also really important to restore a sense of energy to the building so that people have a rewarding experience each and every time they visit.’

The project will follow a two-year, £100 million programme of repairs, led by Buro Happold and Purcell, and is due to complete in 2019.

Last month US starchitect Frank Gehry and Norman Foster joined the growing number of architects working on the project, after being brought in to design a residential ‘High Street’ leading from the planned Northern Line Extension to the power station plot.

The 800-flat first phase designed by dRMM and Ian Simpson Architects started on site this summer.

Wilkinson Eyre's plans for Battersea Power Station, November 2013

Wilkinson Eyre’s plans for Battersea Power Station, November 2013

Previous story (AJ 30.05.13)

Wilkinson Eyre and Purcell to restore Grade II* Battersea Power Station

Wilkinson Eyre and Purcell have been appointed to refurbish Giles Gilbert Scott’s iconic Battersea Power Station in south London

A £100 million programme of repairs, led by Buro Happold and Purcell, will start in October exactly 30 years after electricity production stopped inside the Grade II*-listed brick masterpiece.

The project includes repairs to the façade, wash towers, steel frame and windows alongside replacement of the four distinctive white chimneys which could happen simultaneously under controversial proposals by the developer.

Planned to complete in 2016, the works pave the way for eventual redevelopment of the disused behemoth which is at the centre of Rafael Vinoly’s £8 billion vision for the prime riverside site. The project was purchased by a Malaysian consortium for £400 million in September.

Wilkinson Eyre has meanwhile been chosen to work on detailed designs for the power station interior.

Battersea Power Station Development Company Chief Executive, Rob Tincknell, said: ‘We have assembled an outstanding team to handle the restoration of this iconic building. 

‘Their engagement marks the point at which we are delivering the inspiring work of Rafael Vinoly and constructing the world-class destination he has mapped out. 

‘The reconstruction of the iconic chimneys is an essential part of the refurbishment and will be undertaken with great care and precision so that they remain a landmark on the London skyline for decades to come.”

Last week Carillion was appointed contractor for the regeneration’s first phase featuring 800-home designed by Ian Simpson and dRMM. The 102,200m² scheme next to the power station starts on site this summer and is scheduled to complete in 2016.

Last month the developer behind the high-profile power station project announced a string of planned changes to the outline consent.

One of amendments sought to alter the planning consent for the demolition and rebuilding of the chimneys from a phased programme to a simultaneous one which the developer argued would ‘speed up the delivery and opening of the restored power station.’

Transport for London (TfL) has meanwhile applied to the Secretary of State for Transport for planning powers for a £1 billion extension to the Northern Line serving Battersea Power station.

The Transport and Works Act Order, if approved and the project secures funding, will allow TfL to start building in three years and open the two new stations at Battersea and Nine Elms by 2020.

Gardiner & Theobald is cost consultant for the repairs and Turner & Townsend is project manager.


Readers' comments (3)

  • Lovely idea ! But what if the lift cage gets stuck halfway ? Lifts do break down occasionally, and in a normal building with floors every (say) 4m. passengers can be rescued from above to an adjacent floor, by rescuers on that next floor. In this proposal, there is no floor above and certainly no one to assist. Helicopters ? Health + Safety's comments should be interesting !

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  • Can the great glass elevator not fly out of the chimney?

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  • JustFacades.com

    glass viewing pods seem like a great idea, cant wait to have a go

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