Battersea Power Station
Illustration: Lauren Nassef | Art Direction: Jelena Schulz

One of the more recognizable buildings in London is the Tate Modern. Once the Bankside Power Station, it was adapted in the 1990s by international firm Herzog & de Meuron into one of the largest and most-visited modern art museums in the world. And then there’s Battersea Power Station. The nearby sibling of Bankside, Battersea has undergone countless redevelopment plans since its closure in 1983. Prog rock fans will remember it from the cover of Pink Floyd’s legendary 1977 album Animals, and the building’s legacy has fueled an overwhelming sentiment to renovate it alongside Bankside for the next generation and beyond.

Benoy, an international architecture firm based in London, has been involved with the Battersea redevelopment since 2013. The firm shared its proposals with the AIA and explained how those schemes have been incorporated into the final design, along with what it was like to take part in such a large-scale adaptation:

  • Benoy’s designs focused on the turbine halls, two massive open spaces with walls of polished tile and loads of potential. Those are being converted into several levels of retail and residential space, in line with Benoy’s initial concept, while maintaining the style and the look of their initial use.
  • Jacqueline Beckingham, AIA, director at Benoy: “We saw an opportunity to create a cascade of space which extended through the power station, beginning from the main entry plaza, up through multiple levels to link cultural and leisure destinations. This also allowed for the integration of a viewing platform, which provides unobstructed views to the north and is accessible to all visitors.”
  • The larger benefit of the project, as a Benoy representative put it, is to use the Battersea redevelopment to “provide the city with much-needed housing and a new and vibrant place to live and work.” Battersea’s importance will contribute greatly to the continued regeneration of southwest London, stuck in a kind of post-industrial limbo and, until recently, “an unloved and forgotten part of the city full of warehouses and shed buildings.”