Taking place during the London Design Festival, London Open House gives the public the opportunity of visiting buildings that are normally off-limits, for one weekend. This year they include Wilkinson Eyre Architects' Siemens Urban Sustainability Centre - The Crystal and more importantly Battersea Power Station. Indeed, it will be the last time the public will be able to see the inside this Grade 2 listed building, widely considered one of the finest examples of Art Deco Architecture, before it closes for renovation. The last and only other time it was opened to the public was in 2006 for a Chinese art exhibition organised by the Serpentine gallery, which was supposed to be the last time it could be visitied before the planned redevelopment. Seven years later the same thing is being said, but this time it should be for good.
The route through the building, where visitors will see what remains of the vast central Bioler House and exit through Turbine Hall B, has been specially prepared so no safety equipment will be necessary.
London Open House is the culmination of a series of events at the site this summer that attracted over 14,000 visitors. The events took place in a 2.5-acre “Pop-Up Park”, a temporary facility which will ultimately be replaced with a larger, six acre permanent park on the riverside.
The visitors Access is free, with no pre-registration necessary, from 11 am to 4 pm with final entry at 3 pm.
When the iconic Power Station has been renovated, it will be open to the public on a permanent basis. The renovation will coincide with the completion of the new tube stop at Battersea Power Station served by an extension of the Northern Line.
Rob Tincknell, CEO of Battersea Power Station Development Company, said:
“We’re very proud that Battersea Power Station will be a part of this year’s London Open House celebrations. The Power Station has been one of London’s most iconic buildings for several decades now and this will be a tremendous opportunity for members of the public to get a close-up look inside the main part of the Power Station before restoration work gets underway.”
The £100m restoration works package comprises brick repairs to the elevations, repairs to the four wash towers, and dismantling and reconstructing the chimneys.
All four of Battersea Power Station’s chimneys will be rebuilt in concrete, in accordance with the original architectural plans. The Preliminary Works will start in October 2013 immediately after the Open house weekend. The dismantling of the first chimney is expected to begin in February 2014.
Rob Tincknell, continued “The restoration of the Power Station is at the heart of this entire redevelopment and we are delighted that this vital work is now getting underway. Gilbert Scott’s masterpiece is in safe hands and … all the contractors working on its restoration are pulling together so that we can finally refurbish it and open it up to the public.”
The shell and core works of Power Station, currently being designed by Wilkinson Eyre, will be tendered during 2014 with a planned start on site of March 2015.
The iconic Battersea Power Station, a Grade 2 listed building will be carefully restored with public accessibility at its core and will form the central focus of the Rafael Viñoly designed mixed-use master plan comprising a careful blend of residential, offices, shops, leisure and hospitality.