Last week it was announced that architecture firms Wilkinson Eyre and Purcell would be joining a team tasked with the full regeneration of Battersea Power Station.
Thanks to the contracts being awarded developers now have all relevant parties in place to begin, and aim to have on-site developments underway on the 30th anniversary of the original site’s powering down in October.
Wilkinson Eyre Architects recently teamed up to design the £27 million Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, with other previous projects under their belt including the Liverpool Arena and Convention Centre, BBC North and Southampton’s SeaCity Museum. The firm now has the responsibility of working on detailed designs for the interior of the Grade II listed building, with a firm emphasis on heritage placed on the plans by site developers.
Purcell, meanwhile, will play upon their role as a prime heritage specialist in overseeing and conducting necessary repair works earlier on in development. A £100 million repair package will precede any other developmental work and will mainly focus on the exterior brickwork, steel frame, wash towers and windows.
However, they will also be responsible for the most controversial aspect of the entire project – the replacement of the four original chimneys. While the developers will be working in conjunction with Wandsworth Council and English Heritage, and also remaining true to the designs of the original architect, there are many who believe the original structures should be kept at all costs.
Rob Tincknell, chief executive of the Battersea Power Station Development Company, expressed his confidence that the firms awarded the contracts will perform admirably throughout the regeneration process.
He 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.”
Preparatory work for phase one has already begun, and it is expected that the first wave of construction work will begin later in the summer. At present, developers estimate that the full regeneration should be completed sometime in 2016.
Battersea Power Station is currently one of the largest brick buildings in Europe, and has long been regarded by architects as a hugely significant example of art deco architecture.
While this sets the bar rather high for all firms involved in the regeneration project, it is hoped that the commercial development will return the building to its former glory as a result of the colossal investment being made into its restoration.
Do you think the chimneys should simply be repaired as they are a central feature of this grade II listed property, or do you believe that the more cost-effective method of replacing them has allowed developers to provide more scope for other areas of the regeneration project?