Almost 50 years after being decommissioned in 1975, the redeveloped Battersea Power Station officially opened to the public on October 14th, 2022. The London building has been returned to its former glory by architect WilkinsonEyre, becoming the centerpiece of a burgeoning commercial and residential neighborhood in the Battersea district. 254 apartments now occupy the east and west Switch Houses, over 100 shops can be found in the spacious Turbine Halls, and 46,000 SM of office space spans six upper floors in the Boiler House.
Situated on the banks of the River Thames, the grand 4-chimney structure at one point supplied 20% of London’s electricity. Battersea was designed in the 1930s by renowned British architect Giles Gilbert Scott, and has served as a national landmark since – even famously appearing on the cover of Pink Floyd’s “Animals” album.
A primary goal throughout the project was to retain and restore Battersea’s historic spaces and materials, emphasizing the original building amid its contemporary additions. WilkinsonEyre worked with conservation architect Purcell to achieve a painstakingly faithful restoration of the power station, preserving its art deco elements and industrial history while still making it a comfortable place to live in or visit.
“At the heart of the transformation was the ambition to retain the old industrial feel to the building. At key points throughout the building, the new structure is stepped back to allow the original spaces to breathe and tell their story. We were keen that visitors would always be aware of the historic fabric and that they were in a unique space.” – Sebastien Ricard, Project Director; WilkinsonEyre
Boston Valley fabricated masonry units for Battersea’s Turbine Halls A and B that match the original stonework as closely as possible. The faience was procured and installed by restoration contractor Szerelmey. The corridors are lined with terra cotta tile featuring multiple custom-formulated glazes, which vary between the two Halls – constructed at different times, the blue-speckled glaze does not carry the same application and spot density across all areas.
The malleable nature of architectural terra cotta allows it to replicate historic surfaces and building materials – including stone – with a high degree of accuracy. When paired with a custom finish developed by our Glaze Lab, the difference between original and new masonry is extremely hard to spot. This attention to detail and authenticity in the faience cladding is key to the success of any restoration project, and helped bring back the intended appearance and visual drama of Battersea Power Station.
Below is a selection of recent articles featuring the Battersea Power Station redevelopment:
- Wilkinson Eyre completes long-awaited redevelopment of iconic Battersea Power Station
Dezeen | 10.05.22
- Battersea Power Station reborn as shop and work space in WilkinsonEyre Architects redo
The Architect’s Newspaper | 10.11.22
- Before and after photos reveal extent of Battersea Power Station redevelopment
Dezeen | 10.13.22
- Battersea Power Station / WilkinsonEyre
Arch Daily | 10.17.22
- London’s Famed Battersea Power Station Is Officially Reborn
Surface Magazine | 10.21.22
Header photo: Jason Hawkes / Dezeen