Power Station Chimney Lift Passes First Test Run

Set to open fully this autumn for 30 passengers at a time

The real thing can now be spied at the top of the North West Tower. Picture: WilkinsonEyre

If you look closely at the top of the north west tower at Battersea Power Station, you’ll now be able to see the glass viewing lift which has recently completed its first test run.

Up to thirty passengers at a time will be able to enjoy 360 degree views across London, 109 metres above the ground. The attraction is due to open to the public and for private events from this September.

“Architecturally it’s a fantastic journey,” says Sebastien Ricard, Director at the project’s architects WilkinsonEyre. “The first challenge was integrating the circular lift car into a gently tapering shaft, as the chimneys aren’t straight. And secondly there could be no conventional suspension cabling as this would compromise the concept of uninterrupted upward and outward views. This is going to be a real experience – emerging to breath-taking, unobstructed 360 degree views across London.”

Clerkenwell-based architects WilkinsonEyre were initially appointed to refurbish the iconic Grade II listed Battersea Power Station back in 2013. The Battersea Power Station Development Company required designs for the building’s enormous restoration to respect the original Sir Giles Gilbert Scott masterpiece. Valuing the integrity of the historic landmark, the team at WilkinsonEyre have created spaces for shops, restaurants and cafés, as well as large open-plan office floors and a series of villas, apartments and penthouses positioned around a garden square above the Boiler House, and to either side of the Power Station itself.

A 360 degree view awaits the public this autumn. Picture: WilkinsonEyre
A 360 degree view awaits the public this autumn. Picture: WilkinsonEyre

No less care was taken with the creation of the Chimney Lift. “The design of the enclosure with its glass walls is bespoke and the detailing is superb,” continues Sebastien Ricard, “It’s one of my favourite parts of the whole scheme and a brilliant way to bring everyone up close and intimate with the world’s most famous chimneys!”

Battersea Power Station’s four chimneys were built in stages, two in 1935 and two in 1955. The iconic quartet that stands today is actually made up of replicas of the originals, which had to be demolished when they were deemed unsafe after decades of not being used. The Power Station stopped generating electricity in 1983.
The newly built replicas were revealed in 2017 after four years of rebuilding, with the north west chimney – which houses the glass lift – being the last to be completed.

The Battersea Power Station site is owned by a consortium of Malaysian investors including PNB, which is one of the country’s largest asset management companies and the EPF, a Malaysian retirement savings fund, as well as Sime Darby Property and developers S P Setia. The management of the project is being undertaken by the Battersea Power Station Development Company, which is based on site.

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