Longtime London icon Battersea Power Station marries its industrial past to a green future
A quick glance at an aerial rendering of the 42-acre Battersea Power Station redevelopment—a project centred around the London industrial icon and its four, instantly recognisable, tall white chimneys—reveals that green will reign supreme at the site next to the River Thames in southwest London.
Green roofs, roof gardens, public parks and even a new purpose-built home for a pair of peregrine falcons that were, until recently, the sole residents of the site, mark a pivot from the long decommissioned coal-fired power station’s decidedly un-green history.
“The industrial heritage of the power station is hugely important to us,” Simon Murphy, CEO of Battersea Power Station Development Co., the developers behind the project, told Mansion Global over email.
It’s important that the power station—which was once responsible for producing one-fifth of the city’s electricity—is remembered and embraced, according to Mr. Murphy.
“Introducing greenery into the surrounding space helps marry the history and heritage of the site together with its future as a new London destination that is open to all,” he said.
Defunct for more than 30 years, the plant is at the centre of the £9 billion (US$11.25 billion) wider project comprising the transformation of the station itself into a mixed-use building—in 2016, Apple announced its new U.K. campus with nearly 5,000 employees will be in the landmark—along with new additions to the formerly industrial brownfield site, including three other multi-use schemes, parks, cultural spaces and a new underground train station.
The first scheme on site was completed in 2017 and is now home to 1,000 residents, with the others, along with the tube station, and is set to be completed by 2021.
The latest green amenity to be revealed at the Battersea project is the sprawling undulating roof garden at the aptly named Battersea Roof Gardens, one of the aforementioned upcoming mixed-use buildings. Designed by Foster + Partners, it will be home to apartments, stores and a new 167-bedroom hotel upon completion in 2021.
At more than 1,100 feet long—the length of roughly four football fields—the roof garden is set to be one of the largest in London. It was designed by James Corner Field Operations, the same team behind Manhattan’s High Line elevated park, and will be delivered by LDA Design.
For LDA Design, the power station’s industrial past served as inspiration for the garden, according to Ben Walker, the firm’s director.
“The industrial heritage has underpinned every decision we’ve made,” he said. “People come here because of the power station, the grittiness of it.” So they decided to incorporate materials that echo that grittiness like rusted steel and big concrete elements. “People love the chimneys and the power station but there needs to be something really memorable,” he said. “The landscape is something we can really interact with.”
As part of the roof, they’re incorporating picnic spots, sun decks, fitness areas, and “spaces to congregate and gather,” Mr. Walker said.
Those areas will be supplemented with quiet spaces, he said. “If you've got an hour to spare, but you don't want to sit in your flat, we created these nooks and crannies where people can sit and be surrounded by horticulture and sense and smell the beauty that is sometimes forgotten in development terms.”
The entire development will eventually have 4,239 new homes—a mix of apartments, penthouses and townhouses—and for those choosing to move in, the greenery will be a big draw, according to Emily Williams, residential research analyst at Savills.
“People place [green living] among their top priorities when they choose a new-build home,” she said. “It’s not just developers thinking they'll do it for show. There's a shift in consumer demand.”
And people are willing to pay a premium for the amenity, too. Across all types of property in central London, there's a value premium of up to 44% if a home has access to a park or garden, Ms. Williams said.
“Cities are the biggest growth areas for population, and they're becoming increasingly dense, but with that large population, people are thinking ‘how do we make these places liveable and enjoyable?’,” she said. “Green space is becoming an increasingly important part of that.”
Source: Mansion Global
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