London’s new “Electric Boulevard”


London, you will soon have a cool new spot to check-in on FourSquare.

This week, two giants in the architecture industry, Foster + Partners & Frank Gehry revealed their collaborative design for the “Electric Boulevard”. The catchy name represents the upcoming London street that will carve its niche into the top tier of London go-to spots. You can expect housing, retail, and restaurants at exorbitant numbers: 1,300 homes, over 350,000 square feet, a 160-room hotel and a medical center. This is phase 3 of the regeneration of the Battersea Power Station that will add 3,400 homes to the area.

“Electric Boulevard” is formed by Foster’s tower called “The Skyline” and to the east, Gehry’s five-building complex called “Prospect Place”. The former is seen in the gallery’s first image and in a bird’s eye view in one of the model photos. As you can see, the wavy structure amasses much of the area and will serve as a mixed-use space defined by retail on the first two floors and housing above. Also notable: the green roof of “The Skyline” that is over a quarter of a kilometer in length. What first jumped out to me though was the balconies that punctuate the wavy aesthetic as I couldn’t help but draw parallels to Jeanne Gang’s Aqua Tower here in Chicago.

Can you draw parallels between "The Skyline" and the "Aqua Tower" here in Chicago?
Can you draw parallels between “The Skyline” and the “Aqua Tower” in Chicago?

Gehry’s “Prospect Place” continues the mixed-use ideal with double-heighted retail spaces, half of phase 3’s new housing, and a communal park. From the farther perspective in the model, it looks like Gehry swiped his hand across the facade like it was a piano to determine how the balconies project outward. As polarizing as Gehry’s designs can be, I think the exterior of “Prospect Place” works really well in relations to “The Skyline”. And all in all, we just need to see more renderings and models to get a clearer idea of the “Electric Boulevard”. The potential is certainly there after this beautiful reveal for it to become London’s next hottest tourist attraction… that once again, is a regeneration of a power station!

So for their next trick, maybe Foster & Gehry can regenerate Springfield’s power station?