The event took place within the Village Hall, a new community venue we created within the railway arches as part of Circus West Village, the first phase of the regeneration of the Battersea Power Station site. Rob Tincknell, BPSDC’s Chief Executive, began by sharing details of the scheme’s beginnings from the client’s perspective: their ambitions and principles for place making, working with Rafael Viñoly on the masterplan, and the design competition for the first phase. On appointing SimpsonHaugh to design and deliver Circus West, the main building adjacent to the Power Station, and dRMM to design and deliver Faraday House on the smaller site located alongside the railway line, Rob noted that it has been a “partnership for the two architects that’s worked amazingly well. It’s given the project a great flavour between the two buildings.”
Our Founding Partner, Ian Simpson shared the SimpsonHaugh design story. “We started looking from the inside out and considered what makes a great home: flexible space, floor to ceiling glazing, winter gardens and a sense of identity.” The deferential relationship with the Power Station, visually breaking down the building’s large form, and height restrictions led to our approach of presenting the building as ribbons or fissures, “trying to pick up the notion of the dynamic of the river, so you have a building with movement in it, which is as much about reflection, as it is about view.”
Ian also detailed other design approaches for creating a neighbourhood within a 17 storey building made up of 752 homes. The masterplan outlined glass as the preferred material for Circus West to contrast with the Power Station’s primary material, brick. Circulation spaces provide glimpses to the Power Station or the River regardless of where your home is within the building. Reducing the number of homes using the same circulation routes groups them into smaller communities. Providing each home with a winter garden, a fully-glazed balcony, extends the living space and improves thermal performance. Including a wide range of residents’ facilities such as private residents club with bar, dining space, library and cinema, and gym and health spa, provides more opportunity for residents to interact.
“What we’ve created here is a new neighbourhood for London - the public spaces, the opening of the path in front of the Power Station, the linking through from Battersea Park. All those things didn’t exist before. If you come back in ten years it’ll be a proper piece of the city. It’s exciting to be involved in it.”
Alex de Rijke, Director at dRMM, explained that their design approach was different, due to the Faraday House site being located on the masterplan’s edge and beside a busy railway route, from which the building “would serve as a kind of billboard.” Alex described dRMM’s design “for a very slender block” with “through flats wherever possible” as having “all the advantages that only that thin, sliver of site could offer. We made a copper building in order to provide colour and animation to what we knew would be a beautifully detailed but nevertheless abstract glass building next to it.”
Following the talks, guests were invited on guided tours around the scheme.
For more information on New London Architecture (NLA) and their events, visit: www.newlondonarchitecture.org