No one quite seems to know what to do with Battersea Power Station — well, not everyone, it seems. The landmark decommissioned power plant presides over Southwest London like a monumental sculpture and some kind of historic relic — a notion emboldened by the building’s use in futurist/sci-fi graphic books and films — exerting a visual power that few, if any, of the city’s contemporary buildings match. So it’s easy to see why architects and developers have continuously tried to revamp the site since the station’s closure in the early ’80s. In that time, there have been a surplus of imaginative redevelopment projects, many of which, including Rafael Vinoly’s various “eco” schemes for the site, incorporated a combination of office and residential structures plus A LOT of green roofs. None of the projects was particularly appealing, nor did they do any justice to Battersea’s architecture and history.
This conceptual scheme from French designers Atelier Zündel Cristea is definitely not more of the same. The project envisions wrapping a massive roller coaster around the whole of the iconic building. We wholeheartedly approve.
“The Architectural Ride” took home the first-place prize in an international competition that asked architects to transform Battersea into an expo center and architectural park. Citing as inspiration Herzog and de Meuron’s Tate Modern, which reprogrammed the Bankside Power Station into a destination for contemporary art, the designers developed a “double-faceted” plan that revamped the building’s interiors while also erecting a large scaffolding structure around its exterior. The scaffolding supports tiers of viewing platforms plus the roller coaster track above.
Unfortunately, there are no plans to turn Battersea into the best amusement park ever. Instead, London will just get a lot of expensive flats.
Images: Atelier Zündel Cristea