Tesi di Laurea

Battersea Power Station: a place for everyone

Thesis by Giorgia Morero
Contact email: morerogiorgia@gmail.com
Master's degree course: Architecture for the sustainable project
Faculty of Architecture II - Polytechnic of Turin
Speaker: Andrea Cavaliere
Co-rapporteur: Luca Davico
A.A. 2013 - 2014

The project area is the area belonging to Battersea Power Station in the Battersea district in London. It is a building of great cultural importance and has a strategic position due to the proximity of the River Thames, Chelsea and the railway lines that connect London with the rest of England. The thesis followed two starting points: the first was the consultation of the book "Battersea Power Station" by Peter Fry, which was fundamental in the sociological analysis during the inspections and was included in the thesis, the second was the study of the project Rafael Vinoly's existing project, which was useful for better learning the English legislation and for developing an alternative design proposal.

The aim of the thesis was to create a project with concrete solutions that responded to the requests defined by the city of London. To achieve this goal, the main regulations governing English town planning were studied and a design approach very different from the Italian one was found, as planning takes place in detail already at a regional level. During the analysis and study phases of the Power Station, we understood the role that the power plant had for the city and by inspecting the area, we perceived the visual relationship between the power plant and the surrounding built environment, in fact in the the compositional phase of the masterplan has tried to keep eye contact as present as possible. The research methods were divided into three phases:
  • of theoretical research, conducted at the British Library and via the web to learn important historical moments, the urban development of the area through the consultation of historical maps and the analysis of statistical data that have allowed us to understand the role of London compared to European cities and how the circumscriptions of the city relate to each other.
  • field analysis, which took place with inspections in the areas taken into consideration which were made with an analysis grid in order to compare the areas under the same aspects and to carry out the expert observation at best; the inspections were made on different dates and times in order to have a complete view of the users present. A crucial inspection was that of 21 September, carried out on the occasion of the OpenHouse, in which the Power Station was visited inside and it was possible to better understand the differences in the plant.
  • technical analysis, in which a regulatory framework was compiled, in order to carry out a project in compliance with local standards. To carry out this last part, the currently approved project was consulted which was useful for understanding the standards and where to consult them on the web.
The masterplan is based on: maintaining the visibility of the Power Station, improving transport, creating socialization spaces and re-functionalizing the Power Station. Maintaining the visibility of the plant makes it possible to maintain the relationship that is present today with the surrounding environment which, once the project is completed, will be even more evident as the chimneys of the plant will start smoking again since all the technical systems will flow into them. The improvement of transport is based on the insertion of the underground station within the area and which will allow rapid movement in the city and with the presence of Vauxhall Station it will be possible to reach the most important English destinations. The creation of socialization spaces make it possible to interact with the external spaces that are connected to each other through linear pedestrian paths that make travel faster; these spaces are highlighted by the presence of trees and spaces with benches that have been inserted in points facing the power plant. Finally, the refurbishment of the Power Station is the heart of the project, because the whole masterplan was formed with the aim of honoring this very important structure for London. The most important element is the internal square that allows you to admire the majesty of the building that interacts with it through pedestrian paths that give access to commercial activities.

The title of the thesis summarizes the concept on which the project is based: a place for everyone, a place for anyone. The new area has been organized to accommodate any type of user and to all needs, because there are numerous commercial activities to meet all the needs of the inhabitants, who will be able to find the required services without the need to move to neighboring areas.
(see pdf)
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