According to developers, once complete, Battersea Power Station will boast ‘the largest new office district in Central London’.
A visual icon
Built in the 1930s with the purpose of generating electricity for the capital, Battersea Power Station remains one of the most iconic landmarks in London. It’s one of the largest brick-built structures in the world and is famed for its Art Deco fitting and decor. Featuring on Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals and in The Beatles 1965 film Help!, it seems to have an everlasting mass cultural appeal. The station itself became ‘power-less’ in ‘83, and until recently was largely neglected and unused.
Redeveloped & repurposed
In 2012, three Malaysian investors- SP Setia, Sime Darby Property and The Employees Provident Fund- bought BPS for £400 million and invested £9 billion into the space, with a view to transforming it into a hub of residences, cultural venues and commercial space. The redevelopment has even prompted new transport links: the Northern line could be extended to Battersea and a new riverboat stop established on the Thames.
This vision is already being realised. 8.5 million sq ft will be split between commercial and residential space, with 500 000 sq ft dedicated to workspace located in the boiler house. Tech giant Apple has already agreed to lease 40% and are due to move in 2021. London Mayor Sadiq Khan described the move as, “a further sign that London is open to the biggest brands in the world and the leading city for trade and investment.”
Not just for tech
Battersea Power Station Development Company’s Head of Leasing has an inclusive approach to attracting businesses to the workspace, openly welcoming innovative enterprises from across the board, not just tech: “We want to be the best known new district and the home to all of the creative industries… it’s not just a building, it’s an amazing place that we’re trying to create with this rich variety of amenities.”
A successful model
This project is nothing new. Architects and designers have been repurposing old buildings for years. In fact, the Bankside Power Station, also designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was redeveloped into the UK’s most prominent modern art gallery: the Tate Modern. Before opening its doors in 2000, designers restored the station to its original structure and aesthetic. The turbine hall became the reception area and the boiler house the gallery space.
The Tate Modern’s recent extension houses rotating collections, with a focus on learning and engagement.