Circus West brings Battersea to life
Circus West, the first phase of the transformation of Battersea Power Station into a place that people call home, completes this summer. It opens up a precious new stretch of Thames riverside on the western side of the Power Station, connecting to Battersea Park. The development includes two major new residences: one made out of glass that is longer than The Shard is tall, juxtaposed against another that is copper clad. These are unified by dramatic new public realm and horticulturally rich gardens.
Eighty five per cent of Londoners do not know their neighbours, but the developers behind the city’s newest neighbourhood in Battersea are determined to buck the trend and create a place that is sociable.
“The challenge has been to make sure the landscape responds to the scale of the Power Station without being overwhelmed by it,” explains LDA Design Director, Benjamin Walker, who leads the team responsible for the design of all the external spaces at Battersea Power Station.
The public realm is being designed so that people will connect to the place through the landscape. “Our focus has been on giving London animated, soon-to-be-favourite new spaces that the local community can share and enjoy. We want these spaces to be welcoming and convivial; so we started with how people might use the site – where they would go for a morning coffee or an evening drink.”
With a strong and simple design that makes the most of its riverside setting, Circus West gifts London with a new piazza which is being compared favourably to Granary Square and St Pancras Square in King’s Cross. A dramatic tiered granite water feature is already attracting families at the weekend. The first wave of new shops, restaurants and cafes are already moving in.
The new public realm features strong drifts of herbaceous plants and grasses and tall specimen trees, providing structure, colour and texture; creating quiet spots for reading and places for play and new encounters. Seasonal blasts of colour in the planting pick up on the brick reds and purples of the power station.
The site’s industrial heritage is reflected throughout the design: in textures and colours; in the choice of materials including corten steel; in steps cast in concrete as black as the coal that fed the furnaces and in bespoke metalwork which hints at the power station’s former art deco interiors. This attention to detail is everywhere – even the litter bins carry architectural detailing reminiscent of the fluting of the newly rebuilt chimneys.
For more information on our role on Battersea, please contact Benjamin Walker.