[image via BD Online]
This week saw Rafael Viñoly debut his proposed renovation of London’s much-loved Battersea Power Station. The design includes a massive tower and bizarre glassed-in micro-city / biodome that bears little to no relationship with the existing power plant and its context. Predictably, reviews have not been kind — the word “menace” has been thrown around a lot and RIBA chair Andrew Hanson has said “it’s completely overscaled and is destroying my memory of that part of London.” Wow. How bad can design be? So bad that it actually destroys memory. So bad that it makes architects forget that something could ever be good. The only people who don’t seem to be upset are those convinced it will never get built. “I might muster the energy to get offended by the project if I thought that there was even the remotest chance of it being built,” says BD’s architecture critic, Ellis Woodman, with typical British aplomb. The proposoal is ugly, yes. Perhaps even menacing. It does, however include one compelling feature: converting the original station into an actual functioning power plant.