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Battersea Power Station Phase Two, Wandsworth

Words:
Regional Awards Jury

The long-awaited restoration and transformation from dereliction to destination by WilkinsonEyre wins the 2024 RIBA London Conservation Award

Battersea Power Station Phase Two. Peter Landers
Battersea Power Station Phase Two. Peter Landers

 

2024 RIBA London Award
2024 RIBA London Conservation award

Battersea Power Station Phase Two, Wandsworth
WilkinsonEyre for Battersea Power Station Development Company

Contract value: Confidential
GIA: 220,000m2

Battersea Power Station has been one of the UK’s most widely publicised restoration projects in recent years. The once derelict, Grade II*-listed building has been an important London landmark since its completion in 1941 but, following decommissioning in 1983, has spent more than half of its life as an empty, decaying shell. It is now an exemplar of intensive multi-use transformation of a historic building to suit society’s shifting needs. Architect Wilkinson Eyre has created a deeply impressive scheme that combines carefully restored heritage assets, high-quality homes, and a contemporary retail experience, all tied together with an industrial aesthetic appropriate to the original power station’s great scale and character.

Despite many attempts over the decades, no scheme to restore this famous building and reopen it to useful function had previously proved viable. In that sense, this project is a particularly tremendous achievement – rescuing a derelict landmark and creating spaces and places for the people of the city, where so many before had tried without success.

  • Battersea Power Station Phase Two. John Sturrock
    Battersea Power Station Phase Two. John Sturrock
  • Battersea Power Station Phase Two. Hufton and Crow
    Battersea Power Station Phase Two. Hufton and Crow
  • Battersea Power Station Phase Two. Jason Hawkes
    Battersea Power Station Phase Two. Jason Hawkes
  • Battersea Power Station Phase Two. Peter Landers
    Battersea Power Station Phase Two. Peter Landers
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There were two types of external intervention. First, walls have been carefully restored, down to the level of producing bricks from the same clay sources as the original and replicating subtle changes in mix and colour that occur on the different facades. This attention to detail elevates the project from a simple reuse scheme to a meaningful restoration. Other external interventions are extra window slots to facilitate the insertion of residential apartments, plus additional massing at roof level.

Inside, the works are truly transformative. While sensitively stabilising and augmenting the heritage, they have turned the derelict shell into a vibrant mixed-use development where the public can live, work, shop, learn, drink, dine and enjoy diverse leisure options. Opening the building to public access for the first time in its history offers social value to the immediate community and to London, as well as making it a destination for national and international visitors.

The meticulous restoration of surviving areas such as Control Room A and stabilisation of Art Deco faience in the turbine hall demonstrate profound respect for the heritage assets. The new additions are quintessential examples of effectively combining modern and historic elements. These additions include a bow string truss supporting the south entrance wall, carefully inserted cores in the base of the chimneys serving residential units, and an innovative glass-topped lift in the north-west chimney offering extraordinary views over London.

Roof space, so often wasted, is successfully used here for garden terraces, providing contemporary and biodiverse shared green space for residents. Aside from the reassuring view of the landmark four chimneys, the gardens do not feel like part of the huge, monolithic power station, but rather like elevated city squares, human in scale.

  • Battersea Power Station Phase Two. Hufton and Crow
    Battersea Power Station Phase Two. Hufton and Crow
  • Battersea Power Station Phase Two. Peter Landers
    Battersea Power Station Phase Two. Peter Landers
  • Battersea Power Station Phase Two. Hufton and Crow
    Battersea Power Station Phase Two. Hufton and Crow
  • Battersea Power Station Phase Two. Andrew Lee
    Battersea Power Station Phase Two. Andrew Lee
  • Battersea Power Station Phase Two. WilkinsonEyre
    Battersea Power Station Phase Two. WilkinsonEyre
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The project adeptly balances heritage preservation with fabric efficiency: over 70% of its new elements were modular or prefabricated, reducing waste and embodied carbon. Such retrofit schemes retaining the embodied carbon of existing buildings are set to become an ever higher proportion of developments in the future – and what a remarkable precedent this project will be.

See the rest of the RIBA London winners hereAnd all the RIBA Regional Awards here

To see the whole RIBA Awards process visit architecture.com

RIBA Regional Awards 2024 sponsored by EH Smith and Autodesk

Credits

Contractor Mace
Structural engineer Buro Happold
Environmental/M&E engineer Chapman BDSP
Landscape architect LDA Design
Lighting design Spiers & Major
Interior design Michaelis Boyd

 

Credit: WilkinsonEyre
Credit: WilkinsonEyre
Credit: WilkinsonEyre
Credit: WilkinsonEyre
Credit: WilkinsonEyre
Credit: WilkinsonEyre

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