Just a Minute With: Architect Rafael Vinoly

Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:02am EDT
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By Julie Mollins

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Rafael Vinoly, the architect behind the designs for the proposed revitalization of London's Battersea Power Station on the River Thames, is undaunted by the size and scale of the project.

The massive brick structure with four white chimneys, which in 1977 was pictured on the cover of Pink Floyd's album "Animals," is managed by Treasury Holdings UK on behalf of Real Estate Opportunities Limited. Since it fell into disuse in 1983, several attempts to redevelop it have failed.

Vinoly won a competition to create a masterplan for the area surrounding the heritage-protected power station, which was designed by English architect Giles Gilbert Scott and completed in two stages in 1933 and 1957.

Vinoly is speaking at Southwark Cathedral on June 24, as part of the two-week London Festival of Architecture, a biennial event held since 2004.

The New-York based architect is also constructing a controversial high-rise tower in the City of London at 20 Fenchurch Street known as the "Walkie Talkie."

Q: What drew you to the Battersea Power Station project?

A: "It's an extraordinary opportunity with a very grim story behind it after several previous attempts to refurbish it and incorporate that incredible site back to the usable areas of the city. Also the fact that it's a real challenge -- as it's proved to be -- a very serious one. It's an extraordinary chance to bring back the power station to a new interpretation or a new use."

Q: What are your plans?   Continued...

<p>A rendering of Rafael Vinoly's design of the Battersea Power Station is seen in an undated handout picture.</p>