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Spark Plug Dropped From Battersea Plans

Plans for a tall tower with attached eco-dome to act as power generation for Battersea Power Station have been dropped by the developer.

Architect Rafael Vinoly had come up with a huge solar chimney with flats wrapped around it and a glass dome at the base that would have passively heated and cooled the buildings under it and even provided natural tropical gardens for their roofs.

The structure had already been reduced in planned height from 300 metres to 250 and now faces being reduced further. Replacing the eco-dome will be a collection of glass canopies, whilst the shrinking of the tower will see other parts of the scheme bulked up further instead and the high-rise element become a more conventional building.

The removal of such a huge power-saving piece of engineering has also changed the economics of the scheme meaning that Real Estate Opportunities will have to add further density to make up for this shortfall in cost savings that the Spark Plug would have generated.

English Heritage in particular had opposed the scheme worrying that it would obstruct views of the Westminster World Heritage site.

Local NIMBYs in the form of the Battersea Power Station Community Group have also been vocal in their opposition, and are still be quoted in the press, despite having manufactured their own inaccurate images of the "damage" the proposals would do to try and improve their position.

The development had also won few fans at the Commission for Architecture and Built Environment which had lambasted it for departing so radically from the previously approved masterplan by Arup.

It should be interesting to see what emerges next as the plans continue to evolve into something more acceptable for those with conservative tastes given Vinoly's original vision was so audaciously bold for London.

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