Nine Elms – final project?

Author: Cyril Richert

As reported by Wandsworth Guardian in June, the project for Nine Elms and Battersea Power-station redevelopment evolved again. Rob Tincknell, managing director of Treasury Holdings (the owner of the building) said:

The [eco dome] scheme was the wrong time, the transport costings were not right and the plan was massively over designed

Real Estate Opportunities (REO) unveils another design (again!) at a public exhibition in June. It says this project is more financially viable than the last and includes a design that “respects” Sir Gilbert Scott’s Grade II* masterpiece.

So out the eco-dome; out the curvy glass roof too.

Proposal for Battersea Power Station

Despite nobody is highly questioning the opportunity to construct tall building in the area of Nine Elms (but not taller than the chimneys of the power station), critics claim the density and proximity of the terraces to the station is inappropriate.

The Battersea Society said that the new housing must include a proper share of affordable housing and family accommodations. Furthermore it supports a boost for public transport (including the idea of a tram) and emphasises the importance of creating attractive surroundings at ground level, so that it will be a pleasure to walk and cycle through Nine Elms. It urges Wandsworth Council and the Mayor of London to rule out the area as a location for a major shopping centre as it might kill off other centres(you can think of Knightsbridge but also Clapham Junction or Brixton).

[More information, including a short film, on the developer’s website]

No tower for Battersea Power station, finally

Author: Cyril Richert

A few weeks ago the developers unveiled the news proposal for Battersea Power Station redevelopment after a plan including a 250 meter skyscraper was scrapped.

According to the article in the Evening Standard:

“The latest proposal for the £4 billion project shows a glass roof curving over Giles Gilbert Scott’s Grade II listed building, with a series of medium-rise blocks on either side.

Crucially for fans of the structure, its famous chimneys are to be left intact. In the previous, rejected design, a huge eco-chimney and an accompanying dome were meant to contain a wind turbine for energy and provide heating for the office blocks, making it carbon-neutral.

The developers have now redesigned the scheme with Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly as part of a public consultation by Wandsworth Council on the regeneration of the Nine Elms area.

Rob Tincknell, managing director of developer Treasury Holdings, told the magazine Building Design: “The site will be transformed into the first large-scale, urban, carbon-neutral development in the UK. It will provide around 13,000 jobs and 3,500 homes and a new six-acre riverside park with direct access to Battersea Park.”

The scheme has also received a cautious welcome from Save Britain’s Heritage. Secretary William Palin said: “The positive thing is the space in front of the power station – that’s important. But the curved roof looks incongruous – the wonderful thing about the power station is the angularity of it. I don’t think it complements the building.”

The development also includes extending the Northern Line to the site by 2015 – the first privately funded extension of the Tube.”

It is interesting to remember the comments made by Rob Tincknell before last project was rejected:  “it is either the go-ahead for the glass tower, or the power station may be doomed“. As I was writing back in February, apparently he has changed his mind and decided to compromise… and oh surprise, after all it was not impossible to make a project including medium-rise buildings, none of them exceeding the size of the chimneys of the Power station.



Morality: never believe developers!

Plan for a huge tower beside Battersea Power Station scrapped?

Author: Cyril Richert

According to the Evening Standard today:

Plans to build a giant glass chimney B rising out of an “eco-dome” at Battersea power station have been scrapped.

The chimney would have been one of the tallest structures in London, twice the height of the Gherkin building in the City, and contained a wind turbine.

However, residents, public bodies and the Mayor all objected to the proposal – the central showpiece for the £4billion redevelopment of Giles Gilbert Scott’s Grade II-listed building which has been out of action since 1982.

The developer, Treasury Holdings, and architect, Uruguayan-born Rafael Viñoly, have been forced to go back to the drawing board. It is thought the height of the tower will be reduced to bring it in line with those in Westminster and the dome will be replaced with a series of canopies.

I would rather be a bit careful and not being over enthusiastic. Last time that the developers went back to the drawing board they removed 50 meters, from 300m. And Battersea campaigners told me that everybody knew at that time that it won’t be accepted. So, they might scrapp another 50m… and try again, until everyone is fed-up campaigning against and gives up. Rob Tincknell, managing director of Treasury Holdings, presenting the project to Boris Johnson said previously: “it is either the go-ahead for the glass tower, or the power station may be doomed“. Apparently he has changed his mind and decided to compromise further…

We have previously commented the story in Another case of blackmail in Battersea

Another case of blackmail in Battersea

Author: Cyril Richert

According to an article in the Evening Standard before Christmas:

Battersea tower - Evening Standard 18/12/08PLANS to build a 300-metre glass tower next to Battersea Power Station have been scaled back after opposition from campaigners and heritage groups.The tower formed the centrepiece of a £4billion scheme to restore and redevelop the derelict Grade II*-listed generator and the surrounding area.” (click on the article beside to read in full).

The Grade II listed building was bought by Treasury Holdings a few years ago. The developers have said they have taken on board the comments made and scrapped 50 meters of the 300-metre original glass tower. Is it enough? Well, it will still be 250 meters high, making it the tallest building in not only London, but also Great Britain. And the building will still be poking over the Palace of Westminster, listed as a World Heritage Site.

Once again the choice is very simple, according to Rob Tincknell, managing director of Treasury Holdings, presenting the project to Boris Johnson: it is either the go-ahead for the glass tower, or the power station may be doomed.

But as the architecture critic comments in the newspaper: “Is it good to build a new Tube connection to Battersea? Or to build a low energy development? Or to rescue Battersea Power Station from decay? Yes, yes and yes. Is it necessary to build a 250-metre tower to achieve these ends? No“.

The same thing could be applied to Clapham Junction station [1]. The same thing was valid for Putney’s project…

Skyscapers in London - Comparison of sizeClick on the image to see bigger

Why on earth are 4 of the 15 current huge tower block projects submitted in Wandsworth nowadays? Is the Council in favour of pharaonic projects and huge tower blocks? Is the Council making a policy of not spending a penny for public development and financing them all with developer fantasy? Maybe it is time for the Council of Wandsworh to clarify its policy on the issue and ask clearly its constituents their view? Isn’t this what is called democracy?

[1] Apparently, there would be another plan to be submitted to the Council to erect another tower block (about 15 storey?) 50 meters away, in front of PCS, at the bottom of Mossbury Road, for a hotel.