New Scheme Proposes Partial Demolition Of Battersea Power Station

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 75 months ago
New Scheme Proposes Partial Demolition Of Battersea Power Station

Further images of the proposal by Terry Farrell to remodel Battersea Power Station, which we first learned of late last year, have emerged, as reported by Building Design (registration required).

The plan would demolish the side walls of the grade II*-listed building, replacing them with a colonnade that opens up into a park in the building's central space. Much of the building's signature details, including the chimneys, the turbine halls and the control rooms, would be retained.

However, the Farrell plan is only one of many, and not all are so reverent towards the iconic building. A report earlier this week concluded that nearly £500 million could be shaved off any redevelopment project if the chimneys, already in a terrible state, were demolished entirely. The most recent attempt at revamping the area failed last year after the company behind it fell into financial difficulty.  Chelsea are also known to be interested in building a new football stadium the site.

Thirty years after it was operational, one might wonder whether it's possible or desirable to even keep the building standing at all. Advocates for its destruction have come from some unlikely sources, including design commentator Stephen Bayley, who thinks keeping it is "mindless nostalgia" for Britain's industrial past. Yet its demolition is unlikely: the building has an emotional hold on the city, English Heritage isn't likely to alter its listed status, and the success of Giles Gilbert Scott's other riverside power station at Bankside since it was redeveloped into Tate Modern suggests that redevelopment could work, albeit perhaps not on the same scale. The question is: have we already run out of time?

Last Updated 17 February 2012

Charlie Gordon

Stephen Bayley suggests knocking it down.  Chimes with The Design Museum's planned wrecking job on the interior of the Commonwealth Institute; at least he's consistent, I suppose.


I quite like the open sides idea - looks like one of those City churches, bombed in the war and turned into peace gardens, but on a much larger scale.

Full demolition, or even permanent removal of the chimneys, would be a great shame, and would no doubt be vehemently opposed. I can't help thinking that the building engenders much more than 'mindless nostalgia' - it's an icon for the area and an important building form one of the greatest British architects of all time.

Andy Brice

I don't think this plan has much subtlety to it. It seems to consider the power station's chimneys its only defining feature, but the wings of the building are very elegant too, and an important aspect of the building's overall balance.

andrea kirkby

Please can we get together a proper campaign to save Battersea Power Station?

It's a magnificent work. It's as much a part of the London skyline as St Paul's Cathedral or Big Ben. And it's also part of our industrial heritage - something which says that fine architecture and humane values don't have to be confined to cathedrals and government buildings and palaces, but should be part of our everyday life.

Robert Hunter

this isn't a redevelopment scheme - its a partial demolition, it should be a living building or nothing