The Prospect Place apartment building at Battersea Power Station in London, designed by Pritzker Architecture Award-winning architect Frank Gehry, features rippled white façade punctuated by enormous windows. The proposal, which is the Canadian-American architect’s first housing project in the UK, consists of two buildings with a total of over 308 homes. The structures are part of a £9 billion revitalization project that would transform the area into a dynamic, mixed-use attraction with 19 acres of open space. Part of the Battersea Power Station regeneration project has been completed, ahead of its public inauguration in September 2022. The striking structure is distinguished by a rippling facade that twists and swirls to enhance views of Battersea Power Station, which is located nearby.
The renovation plans included preserving the general scale of the old structure, as well as the chimneys and turbine halls. Lead architect Wilkinson Eyre delicately rebuilt Phase 2 of the mixed-use property, which now serves as the focal point of a rejuvenated neighborhood. Foster + Partners and Gehry Partners were involved in Phase 3’s The Electric Boulevard, Battersea Roof Gardens, and Prospect Place. Prospect Place’s launch coincides with the completion of Wilkinson Eyre’s rebuilt power station, which will incorporate a glass elevator within one of its chimneys. Wilkinson Eyre, the project’s principal architect, revealed photos of the Battersea Power Station Chimney Lift earlier this year. The attraction rises 109 meters above the earth through the northwest chimney of the power station, providing visitors with 360-degree views over London.
Prospect Place was developed by Gehry’s named firm Gehry Partners as part of the rehabilitation of the famous Giles Gilbert Scott-designed Battersea Power Station on the Thames’s banks. He believed that it was critical to develop social spaces for future generations. From the beginning, the idea was to build a neighborhood that not only relates to the historic fabric of London but also has its own identity and integrity. According to Gehry, the development’s intention was for it to read alone while also framing and connecting to Battersea Power Station.
So far, the two residential buildings have been influenced by conventional bay windows, however, this inspiration has been twisted into unusual angles. The result appears random, but the team claims it has practical reasons for the design and that it was rigorously planned to ensure the maximum number of inhabitants may enjoy views of the surrounding power station building while also producing slightly diverse interiors within the 308 dwellings, so no two homes are alike.
Externally, the two buildings are recognizable by their sculptural white façade, which has a rippling look and is punctuated by huge windows. This contrasts sharply with the surrounding power station’s homogeneous and industrial architecture, vividly separating the old from the new. The residences are a mix of studios, flats, four-bedroom townhouses, and penthouses. While each house is different, they all follow the same design principles, such as emphasizing open-plan living and providing access to outside space, whether it’s a garden or a terrace. All of the houses have open-concept living areas and look over the city. Some of the apartments are decorated with light colors and wooden accents.
The new living quarters are defined by two contemporary color palettes developed by Gehry Partners. The ‘London’ palette pays homage to the building’s heritage by using metal finishes and rich textures, while the ‘LA’ palette features softer colors, including pale woods and warmer tones, to highlight the building’s industrial background. The two buildings have double-height retail units on the street level. These connect to a pedestrian walkway that runs through the property and will eventually extend to Electric Boulevard, a new high street for the surrounding neighbourhood.
Prospect Place, which is located to the south of the Power Station, will also have access to the adjacent Battersea Roof Gard ens, which was developed by Norman Foster’s firm, Foster + Partners. Residents will have access to a large, private Sky Lounge, as well as a sunset bar, workspaces, a cinema room, lounge rooms, and a gym. Prospect Park, a planted residents’ garden built by LDA Design and located between the two towers at ground level, adds to the sense of closeness to nature.
Its completion represents a significant step forward in the development. Simon Murphy, CEO at Battersea Power Station Development Company said that “When we first designed the masterplan, we envisioned a thriving community where people can live, work and play, and with every milestone achieved, we are ever closer to making that vision a reality, particularly as we prepare to open the Power Station to the public from September”. “I love London,” reflected Gehry. “It has culture, history, and diversity, and the buildings we have created at Battersea Power Station are designed to stand artfully on their own amongst all of that, whilst also framing an internationally recognized icon.”
Name: Prospect Place
Designed by: Gehry Partners
Location: Battersea Power Station, London
Area: 42-acre industrial site, which includes the power station
References | Battersea Power Station
- Adam Williams (May 20, 2022). Gehry’s first UK housing project frames iconic Battersea Power Station [online]. Available at: https://newatlas.com/architecture/frank-gehry-prospect-place/ [Accessed date: 08/06/2022].
- Enki (May 19, 2022). Frank Gehry designs first UK residential project | Battersea Power Station [online]. Available at: https://enkimagazine.com/frank-gehry-designs-first-uk-residential-project-battersea-power-station/?v=79cba1185463 [Accessed date: 10/06/2022].