Monthly Archives: October 2013

Gehry comes to London: Battersea Power Station

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:
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[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).

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[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.

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Help create the ultimate street art: painting a favela

Dutch artists Haas & Hahn are currently campaigning to raise funds for their latest art collaboration: to transform an entire favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with paint. Previously, they’ve worked with members of the local communities in the city to create street art on the walls and surfaces in parts of the city’s slums, and now they’re embarking on their most ambitious project yet.

Favela painting, findthedetails.com via designboom

An impression of how the finished favela will look, above, and how it looks today:

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Haas & Hahn’s first project, Boy with Kite (2006, Vila Cruzeiro), transformed this concrete neighbourhood:

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In 2010, the team worked on this colourful, ambitious project, a square in the Santa Marta community. Together with 25 locals who were trained and hired, the project took one month to complete, and has turned the area from a no-go zone to a tourist attraction:

favela painting, via findthedetails.com and designboom

favela painting via findthedetails.com and designboom favelapainting via findthedetails.com and designboom

[images: favela painting, designboom]

This latest huge, many-year project has it roots firmly in the community; from gaining approval for the painting (this means travelling through the favela, door to door), Haas & Hahn will work with local people, training them in the skills of plastering and painting, so creating neighourhood jobs alongside the creation of the public artwork. Basic human needs are also being addressed: simply by including plastering in the process, these handbuilt houses will have better longevity, temperature and moisture control. They’ll need headquarters, paint supplies, and huge amounts of funding, though their initial target is a restrained $100,000. 

Do use a click to visit Haas & Hahn’s Kickstarter and Favela Painting sites to help with the fundraising and view more of their work.

Wish List: chic preserving jars

I’m a big fan of the French Le Parfait preserving jars for storing dry food, but I think my collection of clear jars will soon be joined by a colourful interloper from America:

This blue Ball ‘Perfect Mason’ jar is a faithful reproduction of the Balls brothers’ original blue preserving jar. Relaunched this year to celebrate the jar’s centenary (they were first produced in 1913) the jar hasn’t been available in this chic blue shade since 1937. Readers in the US can shop the jars directly from Ball, the manufacturer; sadly they don’t ship outside of the US so in Europe, try Labour & Wait.