New London Architecture

Battersea Power Station Public Realm

Built

In its first year, Battersea Power Station has attracted 11 million visitors. Its inviting landscape softens the monumental architecture and creates a place for people and for nature.

After it was decommissioned in 1983, Battersea Power Station (BPS) lay derelict for almost thirty years. Following eight years of restoration, the Grade II* listed building opened to the public for the first time in October 2022 and welcomed over 11 million visitors in the first year.

BPS is now much more than a building; it is a thriving neighbourhood with over 140 shops, bars, restaurants and leisure venues. The development features a six-acre park next to the River Thames, opening up a part of the riverbank which had not been accessible previously.

Once completed, nearly half of the 42-acre estate will be public realm, with acres of planting. With such monumental architecture, the challenge was to create a landscape that was human scale, with public space that could feel intimate but was also able to accommodate thousands of visitors come to enjoy the events that take place on site.

Today, when new pieces of city are created, the landscape must be ecologically rich and climate resilient. More than 100,000 bulbs have been planted so far. Thousands of grasses form a moat around the Power Station, softening and adding colour and movement. There are towering red hot pokers and salvias. Asters provide year-round structure, complemented by verbena and echinacea. This biodiverse ecology has attracted honey and white-tailed bees, butterflies and migrant hawker dragonflies. There are black redstarts and goldfinches, grey wagtails and wrens. To date, over 95 different bird species have been recorded on the estate. A pair of Peregrine falcons also call the landmark home.

The site’s heritage is reflected through choosing materials with heft, from timber and Corten steel to coal-black seating walls. The metalwork reflects the 1930s design of one of the Power Station’s original control rooms.

BPS has been successfully realised by a consortium of Malaysian companies comprising S P Setia, Sime Darby Property and Employees’ Provident Fund.

Benjamin Walker, Director, LDA Design said:

“This has been an extraordinary restoration project, from biologically redundant to bubbling. It is a once-in-a-generation kind of a job. Battersea Power Station is both an amazing building and a hugely complex piece of city placemaking. The key was in working through how the Power Station could be stitched into the wider neighbourhood. LDA Design has been lucky enough to have been involved since the start, with a team motto of “Don’t do ordinary.” I think we got there.”


Sarah Banham, Head of Communities and Sustainability at Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC), said:
“The creation of large areas of landscaped public realm and green spaces at Battersea Power Station has been a key element in the project’s placemaking strategy from the beginning. When building a new town centre, it is important to create areas that can be enjoyed by all and can accommodate the different community focused events and activations taking place, whilst at the same time creating quiet spaces where people can relax. This has successfully been achieved at Battersea Power Station, particularly with the opening of the six-acre Power Station Park, which hosts small and large scale events throughout the year, and offers a peaceful green space to enjoy in between.”

This project is featured as a case study alongside our Public London: Activating the City insight study. The publication, exhibition and online project directory explore what constitutes a successful and democratic public realm today, the role of co‑creation and partnerships, and how we can ensure that places are fit‑for‑purpose in the long term.
Download the report

Project information

Status

Built

Borough

Wandsworth

Size

169968 sq m

Estimated completion

October 2022


Location

Battersea Power Station, 1 Circus Rd W, Nine Elms, London SW11 8EZ, UK


Team Credits

Client

S P Setia, Sime Darby Property and Employees’ Provident Fund

Developer

Battersea Power Station Development Company

Landscape Architect

LDA Design

Architect

WilkinsonEyre

Structural Engineer

Buro Happold

Construction Manager

MACE

Landscape Architect

Andy Sturgeon


Listed by

LDA Design

Last updated on

27/06/2024


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