Gehry and Foster team up on Battersea
Power Station redevelopment

| 33 comments
 

News: Frank Gehry and Norman Foster have been appointed to design a series of buildings as part of the £8 billion redevelopment of Battersea Power Station in London.

Los Angeles firm Gehry Partners will collaborate with London office Foster + Partners to carry out phase three of the Rafael Viñoly-designed masterplan, adding a shopping street to connect the old Victorian power station with a new London Underground station, and building residential neighbourhoods on either side.

The two firms will co-design the retail stretch, known as The High Street, which will encompass shops, restaurants, a library, a hotel and a leisure centre. Foster + Partners will add residential buildings to the east, while Gehry will work on the residential zone to the west - the architect's first major project in the UK.

"Our goal is to help create a neighbourhood and a place for people to live that respects the iconic Battersea Power Station while connecting it into the broader fabric of the city," said Gehry. "We hope to create a design that is uniquely London, that respects and celebrates the historical vernacular of the city."

Speaking to the Financial Times, he described his ambition to add a sculptural form to the centre of his design. "The developers said the [potential] renters loved the view of the power station, so I said why don't we put a more sculptural object, we call it a 'flower', in the middle, as a secondary sculpture for Battersea - it gives something for everybody," he told the paper.

Grant Brooker, design director at Foster + Partners, added: "[The project] has a vision which will transform this area and create a vibrant new district for South London that we can all be proud of."

The Giles Gilbert Scott-designed Battersea Power Station has been out of use since 1983 and has been subject to a number of unsuccessful proposals over the last 30 years, including a stadium for Chelsea Football Club, a public garden and a theme park.

The latest masterplan by New York architect Rafael Viñoly includes the construction of 3,400 new homes. London firm Wilkinson Eyre is working on the renovation of the power station, while Ian Simpson Architects and dRMM are carrying out phase one of the surrounding development.

  • Lee Kennedy

    Oh no…

  • James

    Oh yes…

  • Frank

    It’s LA firm not New York!

    • http://www.dezeen.com/ Dezeen Magazine

      Hi Frank,

      Thank you for pointing this out. We have corrected the story.

      Kind regards,

      Ross/Dezeen

  • yo mamma

    So I guess nobody will be able to see Battersea Power Station anymore? Shrouded by glass flats. Oh well.

  • Ani

    So it takes two of the most well-known architectural practices out there to come up with the idea to sandwich an amazing building between glass flats and hide it forever?

  • http://www.andy-matthews.co.uk/ Andy Matthews

    It doesn’t appear like the developments shown in the image give much room for the power station to ‘breathe’ or be appreciated in any way. All of those buildings appear to be hard up against it.

  • adam

    It will be a spectacular development, however I can not help myself but to think of their collaboration as a cartoon joke:

    Viñoly will make sure buildings are in the right position according to the Sun, Frank will propose most effective concave shapes, and finally Foster will find the best reflective glass for the project.

    It will be a new “power station” indeed. London inferno district.

  • Modern Maggie

    This makes me want to cry! More horrible generic riverside flats with the amazing Battersea Power Station hidden in amongst them somewhere?

  • Kris

    This is appalling. It’s purely driven by money. If there was architecture that defined corruption it would be this.

    • Bradley B

      How are so many people already spewing hate. THEY HAVEN’T SHOWN YOU THE DESIGNS YET!

      • Kris

        Exhibit A : Master plan bears no relation to the context or the civic importance of the power station. Exhibit B : The precedents by foreign investors.

      • stanhalfmanhalfwolf

        Bradley B – why do you want to wait for the designs? FOG’s output is, within certain parameters, always THE SAME (I hate to use capitals, but you started it). There is so much talent in British architecture that the decision to import One-Trick Frank to do a hatchet job is deeply depressing. Battersea will be the loser.

  • KC

    As an architectural student in London back in the 80s, I used to be awestruck by the sights of those monumental Art Deco brick power stations, particularly the Battersea, as if they were industrial
    cathedrals for those seeking solace from the evils of modern architecture.

    Never would I imagine one day Wandsworth Council would give planning approvals to various schemes to bastardise this Grade II listed building, let alone allowing it to fall into the hands of the corruptible Malaysian state-owned consortium and a bunch of ‘famous’ architects whose schemes are actually quite bad taste and highly insensitive to this architectural heritage. Shame on them.

    • James Burt

      Yeah you’re right, better just leave it derelict with a CHRONIC undersupply of homes…

      • KC

        The expensive new apartments are mainly sold to overseas rich investors and wouldn’t make much difference to London’s homeless problem.

        The site was bought for £400 million and a development value of £8bn had been created by maximising every square inch.

        There are brilliant developers, architects and approving authorities out there who can agree to be a lot less greedy (and corrupted) by stripping back the density and following the guidelines of developing near heritage sites.

      • Aaron

        London is hardly collapsing under the weight of its sensitivity to architectural heritage. Yes, there is a chronic undersupply of homes but destroying one of London’s most iconic buildings is hardly going to fix that.

        Shelter has found that there are 279,000 long term privately owned empty homes in England. Maybe putting some pressure on the wealthy might help.

        Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with leaving the occasional building derelict. Architecture serves historical, symbolic and metaphysical functions, as well as practical. So much of London’s character derives from this. Sadly it is being fast eroded.

  • Aaron

    This is very sad. London is such a beautiful city in many ways but the Thames, one of the cities defining features, is a disaster. This is just another nail in its coffin.

    • Ben

      Is the Thames a disaster or the buildings being built along the Thames? I assume the latter!

      The artist’s impression above is a view I had not previously seen and it does seem to be stifling the power station with more generic blocks of flats. We will see!

  • ebjahsucgu

    Rafael Viñoly messed up the infamous Walkie Talkie. Not only is it hideous, it reflects such powerful sun rays onto the streets I’m surprised health and safety are not enraged.

    Surely there must be hundreds of other less well-known architects and engineers who can collaborate on this project? I’m personally sick to death of Foster and now Gehry. Foster is a bore. Why do these few people have such a stranglehold on buildings in London/EU? Get rid of ALL of them!

  • Antonino Cardillo

    Gold over love. Id est Frank Owen Gehry is definitely dead.

  • Nick

    The problem is that if you leave this building much longer, it will collapse. I agree that these designs are an over-development, however I assume that the local authorities have decided that this is better than losing the building completely.

  • masie

    We are desperate to find a home and have been looking like thousands of others in our price group for way too long now, constantly outbid by foreign investors.

    BUT again these are not for us locals they are BTL’s. Glass block, wind tunnel horror stories with high service charges and no community.

    What price will they start at we wonder or are they already all sold to foreign investors?

    We need these architects to start building homes for local people, why cant they take note from the past, we all love period buildings not the new crap that keep ruining our once beautiful skylines.

    Go high but build with style, proportion and use interesting materials, zero bill build would be fab too. vertical wall gardens and provide outside spaces/balconies larger enough to grow our own produce,

  • generalpopulation

    All you idealists complaining about the scheme should just be happy anything is being done to Battersea Power Station at all.

    They’ve been trying to redevelop Battersea for decades with no success; if it wasn’t for this new project, the station was likely to be demolished all together and sold without the restorative costs associated with such a monumental structure.

  • Rouser

    The perfect soundtrack for this discussion, should be Pink Floyd’s 1977 album, “Animals” :)

  • Horrorshow groodies

    Looks like another haute bourgeois ghetto in the making.

  • Kyle

    Ill-considered and insensitive. The list of criticisms is endless. Why hide one of the cities greatest monuments?

  • djnn24

    I’ve always been awestruck seeing Battersea Power Station on my train journeys up to London ever since I was five or six. Looks like this won’t be possible in a decade or so. Very sad.

    Terry Farrell’s Battersea Power Station park idea (http://www.dezeen.com/2011/12/09/farrells-release-alternative-proposals-for-battersea-power-station/) is a lot more thoughtful and will allow everyone to experience the architecture instead of a few millionaires.

  • djnn24

    Can someone please start a petition against this?

  • Kojak

    Ben, if you are going to be pedantic, will you kindly share with the audience the ways in which you deem the Thames to be a success? All I see when I walk past it is an open sewer.

    It’s a terrible design in terms of conservation and the visual artist hasn’t even bothered to pretend otherwise. It would have been incredibly easy, and much more sensible from Gehry/Foster’s point of view, to use some artistic licence by moving the illumination a few degrees to bathe the building in sunlight. Instead it is covered by shadow. Bizarre.

  • studio

    When pigs fly.

    • KC

      SAVE Britain’s Heritage is probably the right NGO to organise a petition since they started caring about the conservation of this building since 1981 by working on a proposal with Martin Richardson and Graham Morrison.

      They rightly reminded us on their website that the Battersea Power Station was chosen along with St. Paul’s, Big Ben, the Gherkin, and the Millennium Wheel as one of London’s icons in both the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympic Games.

      What about the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community? Perhaps in receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Green Awards last November, Prince Charles should have in person attended the function held at Battersea Power Station itself so that he might get ‘inspired’ to make some noise about how to conserve the building.

  • KimDRivera

    Very intrigued to see the final design for the redevelopment project of Battersea Power Station. Have you seen this article about what’s happening in Amsterdam? Any thoughts to share? http://globalsiteplans.com/environmental-design/urban-planning-and-design/amsterdam-noord-from-an-abandoned-shipyard-to-amsterdams-creative-district/