Oberhausen ‘Gasometer’ as an example for alternative use of Battersea gasholder

Battersea’s ‘listed’ gasholders are being demolished to make way for new homes, shops and business space. Wandsworth council approved the demolition of this and three other adjacent gasholders in Battersea in January 2013, as part of the regeneration of Nine Elms.

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The Evening Standard reported the following on this:

”Objectors say that alternative uses for the site should be examined. Architect Keith Garner says: “In the German city of Oberhausen, there is a gasholder with the same features and it has been transformed into a museum and a centre for art.”

The Gasometer in Oberhausen, Germany, is a former gas holder which has been converted into an exhibition space. It has hosted several large scale exhibitions, including two by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The Gasometer is an industrial landmark, and an anchor point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage and the Industrial Heritage Trail.

In 1992 the city council of Oberhausen, with a margin of 1 vote decided to acquire the gasholder, gasometer in German, and convert it to an exhibition space. At the time, plans were being developed for building CentrO on an adjacent plot, and IBA Emscher Park planned to use the Gasometer for its exhibition. Ownership transferred to the city of Oberhausen, with Ruhrkohle AG paying 1.8 million DM in saved demolition costs to the city.

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Hopefully the owners of the Battersea site will reconsider the usage of the gasholders for a similar purpose. Unfortunately, work (on the Prince of Wales Drive) has already began on tearing the disused holders down and they are planned to be gone by the end of 2014.  The owners have planning permission to demolish the listed Victorian Pump House at any time.

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See our Battersea Power Station project pages for more information and videos.
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For more on Christo and Jeanne-Claude. visit Artsy Christo page

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Letter to Architects Journal on Battersea Power Station phase 3

Keith Garner‘s ( architect and member of the Battersea Power Station Community Group) non-edited letter to the Architects’ Journal.  A critical look at Foster and Gehry, the chosen designers for phase 3 of the Battersea Power Station:

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”Your report about the appointment of Foster and Gehry to the Battersea Power Station project hits the nail on the head.  (AJ web site 23rd October.)   New buildings on the Battersea Power Station site would certainly be highly visible “… from passing commuter trains”.  The one thing you won’t see of course will be Battersea Power Station itself,  which would be  obscured by thousands of new flats in blocks up to 18 storeys high, to be built as part of the Viñoly master plan.

This would be a very great shame given the evident pleasure that commuters and visitors to London derive from  seeing  Battersea Power Station from the train:  certainly  to judge by the number of people who take photographs as they go by and then post them on  Twitter and Instagram.

The truth is that the Viñoly master plan is fatally flawed.  This is because the quantum of development it foresees will destroy Battersea Power Station’s significance as an urban landmark.   It really doesn’t matter how distinguished the architects are who design individual buildings. No good will happen at Battersea until the master plan itself is ditched.

Indeed, rather than allowing new commercial buildings to proceed before Battersea Power Station  is repaired,  nothing should happen on the site until the future of the Grade II* listed building is itself secured.  In that regard, Foster & Gehry would be better employed working alongside Wilkinson Eyre on Battersea Power Station itself, rather than in designing new buildings adjacent.

Part of the reason why the current scheme for Battersea Power Station is so wildly off beam is that its underlying premise is to fund the repairs to the listed building from the proceeds of surrounding commercial development.  But if the resulting over-scaled buildings destroy the significance of Battersea Power Station as a urban landmark – as they surely will – then what’s the point?

It would be far better to transfer ownership of Battersea Power Station to a public interest trust and to repair the building with funds from the Lottery.   Rob Tincknell should agree to this: it relieves the consortium of the responsibility of looking after the listed building – something they are plainly not interested in – and lets them get on with the job of making a return for their investors.

The consortium would develop the surrounding site (in a manner that respects the monumentality of the listed building and preserves key views e.g. from the railway viaduct) and would have a lease from the trust for use of the unlisted parts of Battersea Power Station itself, i.e. most of it.   As a quid pro quo for the use of Lottery money, the public would have free access to the listed interiors which could be used for any number of educationally or culturally uplifting pursuits.

This seems like the basis of an equitable settlement to me. What is needed is an organisation to take it forward.  For too long, English Heritage has stood on the sidelines whilst the situation at Battersea Power Station has descended in to black farce.   As the government’s advisor on the historic environment, it should be their responsibility to rescue the building from the fate that currently awaits it and to pursue a civilised alternative based on trust ownership.

Incidentally, the AJ hasn’t – as far as I am aware – reported the news that the World Monuments Fund had just added Battersea Power Station to its list of world heritage in danger for 2014.  This is the second time Battersea Power Station has been added to the list – the first was in 2004 – and reflects the World Monuments Fund’s ongoing concerns about the situation at Battersea and the motivations of the current owners.”

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See Merlin Fulcher’s original article that provoked Keith’s comments.

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Vauxhall transformation plan photograph released

The first image of complete plans for the transformation of Vauxhall in south London has been released.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More than 20 developments will turn brownfield land along the River Thames at Nine Elms into parks, homes, and shopping areas.

Construction work on the £8bn revamp of nearby Battersea Power Station is due to start in the middle of next year.

A spokeswoman said the power station revamp is just one of the developments in the area.

Programme director Helen Fisher, said the scheme would be centred around One Nine Elms, which she described as the tallest residential tower in western Europe.

New stations

A spokeswoman for the scheme said construction of more than 1,000 homes had already started and the St George Wharf residential tower would be completed in the next 12 to 18 months.

She said work on the new US Embassy was due to begin soon and the entire programme of works was expected to be completed in the next five to 10 years.

A public consultation into plans by Transport for London (TfL) to build new underground stations at Nine Elms and Battersea is currently under way.

The Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership was set up in 2010 to oversee the development.

The partnership includes developers and landowners in the area, the Mayor of London, TfL and the Greater London Authority, and is chaired by the leaders of Wandsworth and Lambeth councils.

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Northern Line extension plans put to public consultation

Property to rent in Battersea could become even more attractive if Transport for London’s plans to extend the Northern Line are given the green light.

The city’s public transport body has launched the third and final public consultation on the project, which would see the London Underground network extended from Kennington to Battersea.

It is seeking views from local residents before it finalises its application for a Transport and Works Act Order in the spring of next year.

Under the plans, two new Tube stops would be created to benefit even more of London’s citizens. One would be situated at Nine Elms and the other at Battersea Power Station.

Although those living in Battersea have access to overground railway networks taking them into Waterloo and Victoria, there are currently no Tube lines serving the area.

The extension of the Northern Line into Battersea could therefore have a very positive impact on the local lettings market.

According to Transport for London, journey times into the City and the West End from this part of London would be cut to around 15 minutes as a result of the new link.

Managing director of planning Michele Dix said: “We are really keen to hear what local residents and business have to say about our proposed plans for the Northern Line extension before they are finalised.

“This new transport link could help kick-start regeneration of the area by supporting the creation of thousands of new jobs and homes.”

A number of public exhibitions are being held at venues across Wandsworth and Lambeth – the two boroughs to be affected by the plans – in the coming weeks, including one at the Gallery on the Corner on Battersea Park Road on November 29th.

The Northern Line carries around 660,000 passengers every weekday and serves 50 stations between Morden and Edgware, Mill Hill East or High Barnet.

It has two Central London branches – one via Bank and one via Charing Cross.

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Battersea power station: big visions, glum predictions

With work on redeveloping the famous London landmark due to start next year, what does the future hold for that part of the south bank of the Thames?

It was decided back in June that the decaying Battersea power station site would be sold to a consortium of Malaysian developers following the financial collapse of the previous owners. There had been talk of Chelsea FC relocating there, but that always an unlikely result. Two months earlier, Rafael Vinoly had presented his masterplan vision for this landmark location in the video below. It’s worth a careful watch.

Encouraged? Excited? Impressed? Community campaigners seem simply depressed, especially about those four famous chimneys. In his video Vinoly spoke of the “original stacks,” but it has lately emerged that the plan is to demolish and replace them with replicas.

Critics claim there’s no need to knock them down and express doubts that the copies will ever rise – the suspicion is that the developers would sooner level the whole building, which would increase its potential for profits. They’re unhappy too about the amount of protection provided by English Heritage and sceptical that the proposed riverside walk will be all its cracked up to be.
But this is much more than a heritage row. The power station site is just part of the far wider redevelopment of Nine Elms, a huge enterprise covering 480 acres stretching from Chelsea Bridge to the Albert Embankment, which will also include the new US embassy, luxurious waterfront accommodation, a linear park, Europe’s largest residential towers and an extension of the northern line.

If the whole lot come to fruition the boast is that 25,000 new, permanent jobs will be created along with 16,000 new homes of which an anticipated 3-4,000 will meet the newly slackened definition of “affordable” – a larger percentage than the Earls Court project and some other schemes in the capital would like to get away with, but still not very large. You might be able to find work in the new Nine Elms, but don’t expect to be able to live there. That’s the way London is going.
Full article can be found here.

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Nine Elms Vauxhall development plans open day

An opportunity to get information and raise concerns over the transformation of the Nine Elms Vauxhall area at the Nine Elms open day : Thursday the 15th and Friday the 16th of November.

 

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Save Kimber Road and Battersea adventure playgrounds

Wandsworth Against the Cuts has opened an online petititon to the Government to avoid the closure of Kimber Road and Battersea Park playgrounds. As York Gardens Playground has been recently flattened by builders they believe Kimber Road could be torn down as early as this Friday and Battersea soon after.

Campaigners claim that the closure of the adventure playgrounds will deprive children and young teenagers of things to do on these areas.

Visit Wandsworth Against the Cuts website for ways to try and prevent this happening.

It seems that Malaysian owners Sime Darby´s plans for the regeneration of the Battersea Power Station does not include any playground areas among these 3.400 homes, 2 hotels and dozens of shops and restaurants.

It would be a very good idea if part of (a publicly owned) Battersea Power Station were to be designated a huge public adventure playground for the joy of all the children of the area. But it is clear Wandsworth Council does not see providing for children as important as helping to enrich property developers by sanctioning the building of DINKy (Double Income No Kids- yet) Ghettos.

Check this video out for more information about this story.

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Petition to save Battersea Power Station’s Chimneys!

The new owners of Battersea Power Station – one of which are renowned illegal deforesters, Sime Darby – are determined to take down the 4 iconic chimneys on the pretext that cracks are making the concrete towers unsafe.

Once the chimneys are gone it is not unimaginable that the rest of the grade II building will also be lost as the argument is likely made that the replacement chimneys are too expensive.

Campaigners against the destruction of this iconic, British architecture have created an online petition to be given to English Heritage who have thus far, ignored the plans to ruin a listed building and an important part of British culture.

Help “save Battersea power station from rampant speculators from demolition to build 1500 luxury flats for Multi-millionaires.”

Please support the cause and sign the petition

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Nine Elms gasholders “consultation”

National Grid is holding drop in sessions inviting local people to have their say on its plans to demolish four redundant gasholders in the Nine Elms on the South Bank regeneration area.

With plans to create new homes, shops, leisure facilities and public spaces, National Grid could be demolishing some of London’s most iconic sights. Ideas to convert the gasholders into museums on Britain’s history of power and electricity could preserve the interesting structures, while creating new public spaces.

Drop in sessions will be held on Wednesday 10 October and Thursday 11 October between 3pm and 8pm at The Gallery on the Corner, 155 Battersea Park Road, SW8 4BU

If you are interested in getting involved with these consultations and voicing your opinions, find out more on the Wandsworth Council website

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Activists fight plans to change Battersea Power Station’s iconic chimneys

Angry activists are fighting plans to replace Battersea Power Station’s iconic chimneys.

The Grade-II listed building’s new owners plan to replace them with replicas.

Fears that corrosion could cause the existing chimneys to collapse led to the controversial decision.

Architect Keith Garner, 53, said it would cost approximately £10m to replace each chimney, four times more than to repair them.

He said: “Where is the logic in that? They’ll have destroyed the most famous part of the building – the chimneys. It’s a short step to say, the building is no longer special, de-list it and knock it down.”

The representatives of the Battersea Power Station’s developers strongly refute this £10m estimation, and claim the estimated cost to replace all four chimneys will be £11m.

Mr Garner, of the Battersea Power Station Community Group, has campaigned to preserve the art deco landmark since 1993.

“It’s an ugly, horrible scheme – a monoculture of private flats. I see nothing really for ordinary people in this part of Wandsworth at all.

“I was born in Wandsworth and have lived in Battersea since 1986. My parents met in Battersea Park, so I’m very closely attached to the area,” he added.

A Malaysian consortium of S P Setia, Sime Darby and the Employees Provident Fund bought the 39-acre south-west London site in July for £400m.

Construction will begin by mid-2013, they announced this month.

The £8bn project includes an extension to the Northern Line, restoration of the power station site and the construction of 3,400 homes.

A public six-acre park, linked to Battersea Park, is also on the cards.

The revamp is expected to take up to ten years to complete, creating 26,000 jobs.

Phase one includes plans to build 800 homes above a commercial complex featuring shops, offices and restaurants.

A disgruntled Twitter user, @SaveBatterseaPS, tweeted: “Profit, profit, profit! Where do they mention heritage, heritage, heritage?”

Wandsworth Council granted outline planning consent for the scheme in 2011.

Council Leader and co-chair of the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership Ravi Govindia said: “The district-wide regeneration programme will be one of the greatest sources of new jobs and homes in the country over the next few years.

“The redevelopment of the power station site has an important role to play and is key to funding the Northern Line Extension.

“This is the most exciting development in London and will deliver a massive boost to the economy,” he added.

The power station was built in 1933 and has not generated power since for over 30 years.

A detailed application for the first phase of the project is expected next month.

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