WilkinsonEyre in London
Merchants in the temple
When in 1977 the English rock band Pink Floyd flew its famous inflatable pigs amid the chimneys of Battersea, part of the power station – built in two phases under the direction of Sir George Gilbert Scott, author too of the plant that is now Tate Modern – had already ceased to function. Any remaining activity once and for all came to a halt in 1982, and this cathedral of brick on the banks of the River Thames became a white elephant that for thirty years would see one reconversion project after another fail to take off. Finally, in the year 2012, a Malaysian investment group took over the huge premises and assigned the London architecture firm WilkinsonEyre to restore the building and make it the epicenter of an ambitious commercial and residential development. The doors opened last 14 October, after an exquisite operation in the wake of which, alas, a nagging question persists: whether a shopping center selling luxury brands, multinational offices, and prohibitively priced apartments are really the new life needed to save architectural heritage from being left to the elements or the pickaxe...