battersea power station by rafael vinoly
all images courtesy rafael vinoly architects
it has been announced that rafael vinoly‘s battersea development (which he won back in 2008) has been given approval by the commission for architecture and the built environment.
a date has yet to be released for when construction will begin. the masterplan for the battersea power station – a grade-II listed, large former electric power plant along the river thames – aims to create a mixed-use sustainable development offering commercial and retail functions as well as residential, cultural, and event spaces interspersed with community facilities and a zero-carbon energy plant for the adaptive reuse of the power station itself. the iconic historic structure of the power station functions as the focal point of the site’s regeneration, which aims to create a self-sufficient and vibrant new community serving as the anchor of the vauxhall/ nine elms/ battersea opportunity area.
the primary design goal is to reinforce the presence of the power station as the main architectural feature of the site by setting it in a formal space (‘the circle’) defined by a reflecting pool and open to views to and from the thames river and its north bank. further, accessibility to the site is increased by creating three primary streets that link the power station to the site’s southern perimeter and through to a future extension of the waterfront park and river walk.
the architectural vocabulary of the complex is defined by a series of varied typologies that reflect the different character areas of the public realm. in the tradition of the london terrace housing typology, the approach sequence to the power station is defined by curving building façades that are further activated by a varied alignment of the floors to create deep, open terraces for the residential units. this re-interpretation of the terrace building type provides a dynamic condition to the façade plane and guides circulation as residents and visitors progress toward the waterfront.
given the phased nature of a development of this scale, the master plan provides a set of design guidelines that establish different degrees of prescription of the design according to the sensitivities of different areas of the site, with the most detailed guidelines pertaining to the architecture and setting of the heritage building.
‘the battersea power station master plan is based on rigorous principles of environmental, economic, and social sustainability,’ says rafael viñoly. ‘the proposed scheme creates a balanced mix of uses to ensure a fully integrated urban environment, provides a new transportation solution, and establishes an energy strategy that radically reduces consumption, as well as generating a clean supply through the use of renewable sources. the visual presence of the chimney, a near-transparent marker on the skyline, defines a new opportunity area signaling london’s commitment to innovation and sustainability.’