If ever you wanted to get up close to Battersea Power Station now is the time to do it.
For the first time in 30 years from now until 9th June the river front side of Battersea Power Station is open for visitors to wonder at the sheer size of the thing! As part of the Chelsea Fringe Festival (an alternative to the Chelsea Flower show) the developers have opened up the river front to give is a taster of the future of this area. I have to say I found it really exciting to finally see something happen to this well loved but dilapidated landmark.
Once you get up close you can see the huge steel frame that puncture the building but stops it from falling down.
Just to look at some of the figures for just this part of the redevelopment of Battersea 3,500 new homes, 15,000 new jobs, 6 acres of parkland, a library, medical centre, childcare facilities, a theatre and 35,000 sq ft of creative business studios – I’m intrigued and really pleased by this last one! And finally, hugely important to the surrounding area, a new tube Station and Riverside pier. Added to this just down the river the American and Dutch Embassies – it all amounts to a massive change for the area.
Personally I’ll be sad to see the view of the south side of Battersea Power Station obscured by buildings; but the riverfront plans make up for it. Just the opportunity to get close to both the building and riverfront is wonderful. I think we’d have all loved to have seen the building turned into a cultural centre – a home for a gallery of museum. Realistically though London is full of galleries all vying for our attention and they’re all happy in their existing homes. Its a shame the Design Museum found a new home in another architectural classic the Commonwealth Building. It would have been an amazing space the collection!
I’m just hoping that the new Battersea Power Station will take tips from some great redevelopments of unloved urban spaces. In London the Southbank Centre has made a massive transformation to the riverfront and in New York the Hi-line has transformed and unloved railroad into a wonderful urban garden. If we can take some of the great bits from each of these regeneration programs the Battersea Power Station will be a wonderful addition to the sights of London.
As part of the festival people were invited play at making their own iconic structures. Kids big and small got very involved.
The impressive cranes that used to haul coal from barges to feed the station – from the look of the plans these will stay.