For years, as buses and trains ferried me across the River Thames and back, like many Londoners I watched as the magnificent Battersea Power Station stood empty; occupying a huge, derelict wasteland site, right on the banks of the river, all the while looking like this:
Work started on the long overdue redevelopment in Autumn 2012 and the consortium have just announced today that two of the world’s leading architecture practices, Gehry Partners and Foster + Partners will be working together on the site’s regeneration, creating residential homes along what will be known as the High Street, leading to the completed Power Station looking something like this:
[images, Battersea Power Station redevelopment consortium]
Whilst Foster + Partners architecture is integral to the fabric of this city: it’s impossible to go far in central London without coming across some of this remarkable team’s work (think: Canary Wharf Underground station; City Hall; the Great Court at the British Museum, the Millennium Bridge just as a start), this will be the first time that a Gehry building has been built in London. Gehry Partners’ work challenges our conceptions of what form and shape a building should take, working within its chosen landscape; altering it, always thought provoking yet supremely functional, whether the practice is creating a world renowned art gallery, such as the Guggenheim in Bilbao, northern Spain (below), or a restorative space for cancer sufferers and their families (Maggie’s Centre, Dundee, two below).
[images, The Guardian]
Take a train trip into London any day at the moment, and the skyline will be dotted with dozens of angular cranes creating new buildings: some wonderful to look at, others more… interesting (the under-construction skyscraper, so-called the Walkie-Talkie caused a stir this summer with its car-melting properties…).
I can’t wait to see how the Gehry vision, together with the Foster vision, translates into creating part of what will be a completely new area in south London to explore and discover; relax and live.