Originally built by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott at the behest of the London Power Company, Battersea Power Station was considered one of the world’s largest brick structures until the 1940s. The massive coal-fired power plant, situated on the southern estuary of the River Thames, is well-known for its imposing four-chimney structure; and its pervasive status in pop culture. (It features prominently in the cover art for Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals, and more recently, was an important shoot location in the 2008 film The Dark Knight.)
Now, 37 years after being decommissioned, the ‘Temple of Power’ has emerged from years of redevelopment as one of London’s most exciting new lifestyle, living and heritage destinations. Work on the long-defunct Battersea master site has been overseen by a consortium of Malaysian developers (i.e. SP Setia, PNB, Employees Provident Fund, Sime Darby Property) with Circus West Village — the first phase of the project — recently completed.
This regenerated neighbourhood is currently home to over 1,000 residents: A vibrant community made up of hundreds of homes and various retail and dining outlets, against a backdrop of the Thames and the original Power Station building. Reportedly one of the fastest-selling developments when it was first offered to the public in 2013, Circus West offers the sort of well-rounded living experience that has since become a benchmark for premium estates in London: residents occupy a variety of one to three-bedroom flats or a handful of exclusive waterfront penthouses, all of which confer access to the Riverhouse members’ club.
The best, however, is yet to come, as Battersea management continues to work (amid the unique challenges of London’s post-lockdown environment) through the second and third phases of the development.
At the centre of phase two is a top-to-bottom refurbishment of the Power Station itself, with architecture firm WilkinsonEyre instructed to infuse the original Art-Deco structure “with a 21st century sensibility.” Currently scheduled to open to the public in 2021, the Power Station will house 253 new apartments in addition to a multi-storey retail complex (mocked up above). Among a host of big international names, Apple has announced it will move its London campus to the building.
For the third phase of Battersea’s redevelopment, both Foster and Partners and Gehry Partners were tapped to design the Battersea Roof Gardens and Prospect Place respectively — intended to function as “the gateway to the entire development and new Northern [underground] line extension.”
Despite still being in the preliminary stages, Prospect Place is already being hailed as an extremely important project for Gehry Partners — the firm’s first private residence in the UK. It’s reported — in the convention of the traditional London townhome — all buildings will be built with access to a private garden; whereas every individual apartment will have access to its own terrace or winter green space.