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Friday, June 12, 2009

Battersea Power Station, London, United Kingdom

Rafael Viñoly's Battersea Power Station design toned down following trail of hurdles
Rafael Viñoly has released details and images of an ‘advanced masterplan’ for Battersea Power Station. The images show a complete redesign including the removal of the previously proposed 300m glass chimney and atrium which was contested by the London Mayor in advance of the introduction of a new ‘Views Management Framework’. The changes come despite figures collated during a month long exhibition of the plans in August 2008 which showed an 82% approval rate for the design.

Real Estate Opportunities, who own the site, said: “The masterplan has moved forward in close collaboration with Wandsworth Council, the local community, the Mayor and Greater London Authority, English Heritage, CABE, Transport for London and numerous other organisations. We are grateful to everyone for their contribution to the evolution of our plans for this major regeneration site.”

The new plans, which go on display for the first time tonight at the Power Station site, ensure that the iconic station retains its dominance in the scheme by limiting the height of surrounding buildings to below that of the four chimneys, which are to be retained following evidence that they can be safely restored. They also introduce large areas of greenery and water, creating urban parklands in the centre of the busy Borough.

Five hundred new homes have been added in the redesign to total 3,700, and 1.5 million sq ft of office floorspace, community facilities and 500,000 sqft of retail, restaurants, leisure space and a hotel are to be created. A spokesperson for the scheme also advised that discussions are taking place with a private hospital operator about the addition of a hospital within a more detailed masterplan further down the line.

While the redesign will no doubt quieten many critics of the original extravagant designs, Brian Barnes, noted artist and community campaigner for Battersea Power Station is not one to silence so easily. Heading up the Battersea Power Station Company, like so many of the Station’s supporters, Brian’s interest was first ignited when the iconic building featured on the album cover of Pink Floyd’s Animals album. He memorably took a similar photo which featured in Q magazine. He has, some might say, a purist belief in the Station’s community worth, and while he sees the latest designs as progress, there are many elements that he insists are not necessary. “They’ve gone back to the park view from before that mad dome thing which we called the dyson, you know it looked like it was going to hoover everything up..."
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