Battersea Power Station / London / England / 2003-2005 (Project)
Luxury 44 room hotel occupying the top 3 levels of Battersea Power Station
Client: Parkview International
Net Area: 11,000 m2
Structural Engineer: Buro Happold (UK)
The power station, one of London’s most prominent landmarks, has been occupying people’s imagination progressively less for its past glory as a symbol of power and increasingly more as a monumental empty giant, imposing a very clear iconic form; an indispensable part of London’s omni-directional skyline. “To do something” with Battersea Power Station seems an impossible task with in-built contradictions; it cannot be restored, it cannot be touched, it does not need chimneys - yet its identity is in the four chimneys.
The Upperworld occupies the most privileged zone atop the Power Station, creating an outpost from which to overlook and within which to retreat. Yet its very position on top of a public monument, belonging to all Londoners, democratically implies that it is accessible to all. It is a prerequisite therefore that a mix of activities will exist at this level alongside the exclusivity of the Hotel. The design must seek to blend and support these somewhat contradictory requirements through careful orientation and positioning of functions, optimising access and maximising views, whilst protecting privacy.
The hotel layout enjoys the legibility and clarity of the diagram; it has a double spine of horizontal circulation tubes linked at both the north and the south ends by two autonomous hubs. The north hub accommodates the hotel public areas with the reception, bar, restaurant and function rooms whilst the south hub accommodates facilities open to non residents. The hubs are an integral part of the main public space of the Power Station below. The horizontal tubes and the hubs frame the vertiginous void below and the sky above. Within the lower tube is an automated shuttle transporting guests to their rooms. The visible movements back and forth of the shuttles and the people in them, animate the life of the Upperworld, and their layer of transparency buffers the guarded privacy of the rooms.