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BIG to make UK debut with new square at Battersea


Peter Murray asks: “Who can complain about patrons like this, who actively seek out the best architects from around the world?” Well I can for one. The Malaysian consortium that currently owns Battersea Power Station includes a company called Sime Darby. This company is involved in the production of palm oil and has been criticised in two reports by Friends of the Earth for its activities in Malaysia and in Liberia relating to deforestation and displacement of indigenous peoples. It has to be asked what would a company with (shall we say) a questionable environmental and humanitarian record really care about a listed building in London? Not much to judge by what is going on down there. The chimneys are currently being demolished on the flimsiest of evidence. (Strange that the south west chimney which is apparently “beyond repair” is taking so long to pull down.) The adjacent listed pumping station c1840 is being demolished as I type. And what do get in return for all this destruction? Battersea Power Station sensitively repaired and given an appropriate new lease of life? Errr…. No. It will become a shopping centre with offices and luxury flats above. These last will require rows and rows of windows punched in Scott’s spare brick architecture and superfluous rooftop pavilions spoiling its distinctive silhouette. Not that you will be able to see the building of course, as it disappears behind blocks of flats of truly staggering vulgarity. But that’s must me. Lots of big architectural firms are making money out of it, which is the main thing. I suppose it is only a matter of time before the consortium is named “Client of the Year”.

Posted date

13 November, 2014

Posted time

12:12 pm