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Vinoly Tries Again At Battersea

The latest designs for the much debated Battersea Power Station have been revealed as part of the latest public consultation by Wandsworth Council on the eventual regeneration of the site.

Rafael Vinoly's latest designs for the £4 billion Battersea Power Station project will see the old power station put at centre stage of the plans again as the highly controversial, yet visually stunning 250m-high, bong shaped “eco-chimney” finally gets buried under a pile of home made NIMBY fertilizer although this is perhaps a sensible decision following the dumbing down of Vinoly's initial ideas.

The latest designs show the grade 2 listed building, designed by Giles Gilbert Scott in 1929 essentially intact but with the addition of large barreled glass roof that once again becomes the centre of the show.

A series of medium rise, fully glazed buildings will flank either side of the station along with public plaza's and park spaces that are landscaped to create often unexpected views of the power station. The mini towers will house cultural and community facilities as well 3,500 new homes while the power station itself will be converted into office spaces creating around 13,000 new jobs.

With the scheme having roof heights that run roughly along the same level as the power station's roof, the idea is clearly to make the Power Station the star of the show rather than try and overshadow it with a new landmark building, something that many will find welcome.

The new plans also include extending the Northern Line to the power station that will be the first privately funded extension of the London Underground since it was nationalised and is seen as a key move in providing transport infrastructure in an area that is relatively neglected. Indeed, much of the feasibility of the scheme depends in part on whether the line can go ahead and connect the project into London's transport grid.

If ever given the go ahead the project will become the first large-scale, urban, carbon-neutral development in the UK but no doubt even this more conservative scheme is bound to ruffle a few feathers.

A planning application is expected by the end of the year and all being well work on the revamp could start in 2012. The underground extension would be finished by 2015 and the whole lot could be complete by 2020, but those who have been following literally decades of changes to the plans for Battersea know that even the best intentions struggle to become reality.

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