Battersea Power Station

Architect Keith Garner, has written a letter to Architect Journal according to the Battersea Power Station developments.

” You say in your editorial (10th May 2012) that the suggested move by Chelsea FC is a “the most thrilling and plausible vision” put forward for the building to date.  You also criticise deputy mayor Eddie Lister for opposing the move.  It is true that, in his time as Leader of Wandsworth Council, Eddie Lister presided over three failed schemes for Battersea Power Station.  But in opposing the move by Chelsea, Eddie Lister is right.

Lack of infrastructure cited by Lister is one of many reasons why this scheme won’t work.  Sketches by KPF that you also publish show that he stadium will take up space currently occupied by the Cringle Street refuse transfer station.  Where will the transfer station go?  Nor do you mention the new US Embassy would be overshadowed by the Russian oligarch’s stadium.   Surely the State Department will have something to say about that?

Far from maintaining the integrity of the II* listed building as you suggest, KPF’s sketches show that the ‘B’ Station turbine hall would be demolished, so the essential symmetry of the building would be lost.  Still worse is the idea of grafting a 60,000 seat stadium onto the side of a building which is (currently) famous as a solitary urban monument.

This is an unviable and unattractive scheme that would condemn Battersea Power Station to years of further neglect while Ambramovich & his team try to make it work.  It does the AJ no credit to support it.

Fortunately the question of Battersea Power Station was given a more sober assessment at the recent Twentieth Century Society seminar, which was timed to coincide with the sale of the building following the collapse of the scheme by the previous owner Treasury Holdings.  One of the key points to emerge from the meeting was that the building should be passed to a public interest trust, with an endowment to fund repairs.

In pursuit of this objective, the Battersea Power Station Company (a development trust set up by Battersea Power Station Community Group) has offered £1.00 for the freehold of the building by sale deadline.    The remainder of the site (the former South Lambeth Goods Yard site to the south, not historically a part of the Power Station) would be sold to raise the money owed to the creditor banks and give an endowment to the trust.

By this route, Battersea Power Station could be opened in the short term as a “controlled ruin” in a public park with a riverside walk to Battersea Park.  The building could then be repaired and brought back into used in a sensible phased refurbishment as funds permit.  Meanwhile commercial development could proceed on the flat land to the south unencumbered by the task of making a profit from the listed building itself.

“Investment and vision”, as you say.  Well, state-controlled Lloyds Bank is one of the two main creditors and could retain a stake in the project.  Now it is time for the GLA, Wandsworth Council and English Heritage – who have all sat on their hands while the building has deteriorated – to get around the table with administrators Ernst & Young to make this desirable outcome a reality.

Very well done Chelsea FC for winning the Champions League.  But please stay at The Bridge! ” (Keith Garner, 2012)

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4 thoughts on “Battersea Power Station

  1. You should do some research, the Cringle Dock waste transfer station is closing in June 2012 http://www.wrwa.gov.uk/in_the_news/cringle_dock_closure.aspx

    Also if as you propose the building is left as a ruin and repaired “as funds become available” it’ll almost certainly fall down. Chelsea’s vision maintains the listed parts of the building while utilising a huge brownfield site that has been derelict for 30 years.

    All in all a poor article badly researched.

  2. “The transfer station will no longer accept household waste but remains open for bulk waste transfer as the link makes clear. I have just phoned Western Riverside Waste Authority to check and they confirm this: “it’s an essential service”.So it seems I am right about this.” (Keith Garner)

  3. I Find this snobbish attitude to football quite annoying

    If a scheme were proposed to turn the power station into an art gallery or museum for the middle classes it would be lauded no doubt – but to even consider that the working mans tastes could be catered for is a no no

    Football is art for the masses – why not for once a thought for the common man

    It will also be funded entirely by roman the entire area transformed as well as a contribution made to the tube line extension

    Compare that to this proposal where the site is ‘given’ away for a pound with further millions found from god knows where to save the power station – well come on its a complete fantasy

    The council should bite Romans hand off with his offer – it solves the problem that has halted development so far – namely the costs involved with the white elephant that is the power station

    Have you no soul can you not imagine what a truly iconic building can be created at this amazing site with a 60k stadium grafted onto the power station – by all means drive a hard bargain insisting the stadium fits seamlessly as possible – roman has the dosh to do it tho

    Chelsea Power Station sounds a great name btw!

  4. PS the cringle dock site could be relocated just along the river to make room for the stadium – maybe the aggregates site too

    The battersea site includes a section of land on the front of the river further east big enough to accommodate the relocated facility – wharf and all!

    Though if the west stand is placed within the main hall building itself it seems to me that there is just enough room for the stadium to be built flanking the eastern wall with the pitch placed north to south

    70 metres for the pitch another 80/100 metres for the east stand – would be tight but would fit in within the space between the cringle dock facility and the power station (with east turbine hall removed_

    At least thats what the few mockups I have seen would suggest

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