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Battersea Power Stations Reception

With the smoke now settling on Rafael Vinoly's brave redesign of Battersea Power Station that includes a 300 metre tall hollow glass tube with flats wrapped around the outside, just how has his vision been greeted?

As pro development as ever the Financial Times writer, Edwin Heathcote, is a welcoming voice, describing it as "among the most extraordinary proposals I have ever seen for the city and has chutzpah enough to compete with one of London's most familiar and eccentric structures."

Despite coming from the same publisher as the Evening Standard, The Daily Mail concentrates on the historical aspects of the site and calls it a "masterplan to save Battersea Power Station before it collapses was unveiled today" noting somewhat sensationally that the 4 billion proposals are "likely to be the last chance to save the world famous "cathedral of industry" with its four white chimneys."

Yes, the power station is in ruinous form and little better than a hollowed-out shell with rotting chimneys plonked on top, but the developer will be spending 150 million keeping it standing regardless of what happens to their proposals which is one thing those who care about preservation can draw some reassurance from.

There is no such praise is to be found in it's sister paper, the Evening Standard. Architecture writer Rowan Moore brands the scheme "a towering affront to common sense" and uses words and phrases like iconic and zero carbon in inverted commas to imply otherwise.

Moore even Suggests that perhaps the scale of the project is due to the developer and architect driven insane in an X-Files like manner by spooky deposits in the ground - "Some industrial poison lurking in the Battersea soil, which causes its owners to lose any sense of proportion and propose ideas like the theme park and the shopping-mall-cum-acrobatic-performance-space".

Moore goes even further seeing the opportunity to use the historic building as a political ping-pong ball. "Tower-sceptic Mayor Boris Johnson and his planning advisor Sir Simon Milton, for whom this is surely the perfect opportunity to prove their mettle." Of course, refusing planning permission is something that would thrill the usually anti-high-rise paper.

Moore isn't alone in his views. Ex RIBA president George Ferguson has lashed out at Vinoly's design and branded the architect "major menace to London". He's clearly neither a fan of this, nor 20 Fenchurch Street, both of which are unconventional compared to contemporary buildings.

It's a sentiment that others will obviously share, no doubt crawling out of the woodwork in the next few weeks to make their opposition very clearly known. Anything less and pigs will fly.

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