Battersea Power Station

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Battersea Power Station
Battersea Power Station, view from Vauxhall Bridge
Battersea Power Station, view from Vauxhall Bridge
Battersea Power Station (Greater London)
Battersea Power Station
Coordinates 51 ° 28 ′ 54 "  N , 0 ° 8 ′ 39"  W Coordinates: 51 ° 28 ′ 54 "  N , 0 ° 8 ′ 39"  W
country United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
EnglandEngland England
Waters Thames
Type Steam power plant
Primary energy Fossil energy
fuel coal
power 500 megawatts
Project start 1929 (start of construction)
Start of operations 1933
Shutdown 1983
Chimney height 112 m

The Battersea Power Station is a former coal plant in London , which was from 1933 to 1983 in operation. It is one of the largest brick buildings in Europe and stands on the south bank of the Thames near Grosvenor Bridge .


At the beginning of the 20th century, a multitude of small power stations in London produced an equally wide variety of voltages and line frequencies . Electrical machines were therefore usually custom-made or had to be adapted to the available electrical supply. In the 1920s, the private London Power Company tried to centralize and standardize the energy supply .

Battersea Power Station chimneys
Inside Battersea Power Station (2006)

In 1929 the construction of the Battersea Power Station began. It was designed by the architect Giles Gilbert Scott , who also created Waterloo Bridge , Bankside Power Station (now Tate Modern ), Liverpool Cathedral and the red telephone boxes . The building has a steel frame that is clad with bricks on the outside. Until the end of World War II , the Battersea Power Station consisted of the elongated block  A with two chimneys . The interior featured an Art Deco control center , a turbine hall lined with Italian marble, and forged iron stairs . Block A went into operation in 1933. The generators had an output of 243  MW at an electrical voltage of 11  kV .

After the end of the Second World War, the Battersea Power Station was expanded to include Block B (which is largely identical to Block A from the outside). This was completed in 1948, and the power plant received its final appearance for the time being with four mighty, white chimneys, more than 110 meters high. In total, the two units now generated 503 megawatts, making Battersea Power Station the third largest power station in Great Britain in the 1950s . One million tons of coal were burned in the power plant every year .

Block A was shut down in 1975 after 42 years of operation, and Block B went offline in 1983 after 35 years of operation. In 1988 the turbines and steam boilers were removed. For this purpose, the roof, which was about thirty meters above the ground, was covered. The roof was not restored, so the interior of the building has been exposed to the elements ever since.

Cultural influence

Battersea Power Station is featured on numerous music albums by British pop and rock bands. The best known is the illustration on the 1977 album Animals by Pink Floyd , which shows a large hovering pig between two chimneys. Other examples include the album Quadrophenia by The Who (1973), Adventures Beyond The Ultra World of The Orb , Live Frogs: Set 2 of Les Claypool 's Frog Brigade (a cover of Animals ) and Power Ballads by London Elektricity .

The power station was the setting for the film Sabotage by Alfred Hitchcock (1936) and can also be seen in the film The Meaning of Life by Monty Python . In the 1984 film , it housed the Ministry of Truth . In the film Children of Men (2006), the building was an exhibition space for works of art rescued from around the world. The flying pig also appears in the film. Battersea Power Station is a location in the film A Scandal in Belgravia (2012), episode 4 of the British television series Sherlock .

The building can be seen briefly as a background image in the music video for The Moody Blues I Know You're Out There Somewhere .

Lately the power station has been used for performances (concerts, Cirque du Soleil ). In Ian McKellen's film version of Shakespeare -Theaterstücks Richard III. the power station serves as the backdrop for a surrealist interpretation of the Battle of Bosworth . For the " Chelsea Fringe " 2013, the power plant was used as an exhibition space.

Conversion plans since 1988

After 1988 it was agreed in principle that the Battersea Power Station should be preserved and used; however, no conclusive concept was found. The idea of setting up an amusement or theme park was rejected because the area would not have been able to cope with the expected volume of traffic. Plans to create an event center with hotels and conference rooms also failed. While the plans came to nothing, the building deteriorated more and more.

Meanwhile, Parkview International acquired the buildings and land and began planning a £ 750 million remodeling project. Two hotels, a theater, a cinema, apartments and restaurants were planned.

In October 2005, Parkview , English Heritage and the London Borough of Wandsworth announced that the plant's chimneys were irreparable and should be removed. Although Parkview insisted on rebuilding the chimneys, there was opposition from local community groups.

REO from 2006

In November 2006, Real Estate Opportunities (REO) announced that it had acquired Battersea Power Station and the surrounding land for 595 million euros. REO also announced that all Parkview plans had been discarded and that New York architect Rafael Viñoly had been entrusted with the new planning. In 2008, REO unveiled £ 4 billion renovation plans . These plans are part of a larger plan to redesign the Nine Elms neighborhood of London . The power plant building was to be renovated and partially used again as a power plant, using biomass and waste as fuel. The four chimneys were supposed to be used to remove steam. The former turbine hall was to be converted into a shopping center ; the roofless boiler house was to become a park. The old building should also house a museum of energy. The renovation of the building structure alone was estimated at £ 150 million. A large building with a transparent facade called the “Eco-Dome” was to be built to the east of the power plant. The building was to have a transparent ventilation tower 300 meters high and 30 meters in diameter; this was then discarded in favor of a series of smaller towers. These towers should reduce the building's energy consumption by 67% (compared to conventional structures) by allowing cool air to circulate through the building. The Eco-Dome should accommodate offices and 3200 apartments for 7000 people.

The former power station as seen from the railroad tracks

An essential part of the plan was the expansion of the London Underground . The proposed extension of the Northern Line to Nine Elms and Battersea would cost £ 350 million and be borne by REO and other major landowners in Nine Elms, making it the first privately paid extension of the London Underground network ever. In 2008, 66 percent of the population approved the new plans in an opinion poll. At an event at the power station on March 23, 2009, it was announced that REO had submitted the plans as a proposal to Wandsworth Council . The council gave its approval on November 11th. REO was hoping for construction to start in 2011; but these had to be postponed to 2012. It was expected that the old building structure could be secured and repaired by 2016 and that the entire project would be completed in 2020. The plans included 3,400 homes and 3,500,000 square feet of office space for an estimated 28,000 residents and 25,000 workers. In December 2011 REO filed for bankruptcy. The architect Terry Farrell proposed a partial demolition of the building, in which only the gable walls and chimneys should be renovated, but the nave walls should be torn down and replaced by colonnade structures of the same height , which would have largely retained the appearance of the building.

From 2012

In April 2012, the power plant was offered for sale for 600 million euros.

On May 4, 2012, the football club Chelsea FC announced that they had submitted an offer to buy the site. Chelsea planned a new stadium; the four chimneys were to be retained. On June 6, 2012, two companies from Malaysia were awarded the contract, which wanted to invest more than 1.7 billion euros in the 15.8 hectare site. A new district with apartments, offices, shops and a 1,400 m 2 library was to be created. A shopping street is to be built in the middle of the building, surrounded on both sides by apartments. Rafael Viñoly took over the planning again. The detailed planning for the conversion was done by WilkinsonEyre . Frank Gehry will design the eastern and Norman Foster the western part of the facility (phase 3).

Apple 2016

In September 2016, Apple announced that it would move into the power plant's office units in 2021, making it the largest commercial tenant of Battersea Power Station. A total of 1400 Apple employees will be housed in the power station.

Web links

Commons : Battersea Power Station  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Flying Pig in "Children of Men" . Interview with Alfonso Cuaron, accessed February 9, 2013
  2. The Moody Blues - I Know You're Out There Somewhere , 2:32
  3. The English Garden May 2013, 74
  4. ^ REO buys London's Battersea power station . Retrieved August 3, 2008.
  5. a b c d e Robert Booth: Latest plans for Battersea power station revealed . The Guardian . June 20, 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  6. a b c d e Nick Whitten: Battersea Power Station regeneration to go to planning (chargeable) . March 24, 2009. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  7. a b New Battersea Power Station plans include office space ( Memento of December 4, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  8. Clare Hudson: What will become of Battersea Power Station? . March 30, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  9. Battersea investor is broke . December 14, 2011. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
  10. E-Werk - without a pig - for 600 million euros . April 27, 2012. Archived from the original on May 2, 2012. Retrieved on June 8, 2012.
  11. Chelsea plans to build a new stadium . May 4, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  12. ^ Battersea Power Station: Malaysian company beats Chelsea bid ., accessed June 8, 2012
  13. Evening Standard, 10.23.2013, p.10
  14. Apple moves into old power plant
  15. ^ New Apple campus at Battersea Power Station