diamond geezer

 Tuesday, August 16, 2016

If you've not been through Nine Elms recently, you may be surprised how much the area has changed.



That's not how Battersea Power Station looks now, that was how it looked in 2009, but I could have shown you a photo from 2013 and it would have looked much the same. Not today.



A forest of cranes has shot up, rising from the foundations of the latest phase of development, fed by daily convoys of lorries carting supplies in and taking rubble away. The first phase is already up, squeezing in 800 luxury apartments beside the railway and screening the entire western side of the power station. The interior of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s elemental masterpiece is next, a much more mixed-use development, transforming the interior into on-brand retail units, entertainment spaces and premium penthouses. The upper lateral walls have already been removed to ease the changeover, and of course the chimneys have come down too. Sulphur damage had made them dangerously unstable, and the developers were forced to replace one before removing the other three to prove they had the building's heritage in trust. I'd say these replacement chimneys are going to be utterly key to the success of the final project, because nothing else of the original power station is going to be visible once the surrounding apartment complex is complete.



Except from the other side of the river, that is. Only from the Thames, or from the embankment at Pimlico, will the majestic profile of the power station be unblocked. Something has to pay for the redevelopment of the site, and even ridiculously expensive apartments won't fill the coffers unless there are as many of them as possible. It's also essential to extend the Northern line, because the new residents would never stoop to taking the bus, and work on the station is now very much underway. You won't yet see much above ground level, only the stack of portakabins where the engineering types hang out, but that big gap in the wall in the second photograph above is the gate all the delivery lorries rumble through. There have been 'issues' recently after the height of the building the station was due to be constructed underneath was increased, but if all goes to plan you'll be able to ride the tube to do your Christmas window shopping at Battersea's designer mall in four years time.



Several other housing developments are planned nearby, crammed into every corner of brownfield space, and the Nine Elms area has more than most. First to be completed is Riverlight, a spectrum of crystalline blocks in prime position on the Thames. Their residents live privileged lives on the upper levels, with a coffee shop and 'tavern' on the ground floor, plus pristine flowerbeds and lawns on which dogs are absolutely not allowed. Their buildings are at least distinctive, which is more than can be said for the much larger cluster arising across Nine Elms Lane. The lift shafts I saw last time I was here have blossomed into mundane blocks of New London Vernacular, nothing architecturally special, indeed standing in the midst of them I could almost have been in Barking. But this is Embassy Gardens, the development that'll have the sky pool, the elevated glass-bottomed swimming pool that got everyone worked up when plans were first announced last year. And the supermarket on the ground floor is a Waitrose, obviously, because the target residents wouldn't be seen walking into anywhere else.



Alongside is the other flagship project in the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area, specifically the new American Embassy. Amazingly it's nearly complete, a giant glass cube encased in a rippling metal lattice, with additional silvery undulations attached for good measure. Security when it opens next year will be extra-tight, hence the construction of a landscaped 'moat' outside, this as yet unseen. But for the time being you can wander up almost to the perimeter of the site unchallenged, to read the numerous safety-is-really-important notices and watch the dangling workmen perform aerial ballet. Spreading out beyond are a number of almost-ready apartment blocks, and liftshafts about to become apartment blocks, and demolished depots preparing to sprout liftshafts, and further depots awaiting demolition. The residential potential of these tightly-packed acres is phenomenal, not that anyone expecting anything loosely termed 'affordable' should get their hopes up.



On the opposite side of the railway viaduct is the only other station on the Northern line extension - Nine Elms. Sainsbury's generously sacrificed their car park, and their supermarket, to allow construction of the new station and are now reaping the rewards. The same footprint of land now contains a sealed-off plot of underground workings, a stack of highrise buildings reaching up to 20 storeys, and a gleaming orange-paned supermarket receiving its finishing touches inside and out, with staff preparing to open next week. It's an astonishing change of land use in barely three years, and stands in sharp contrast to the much lowlier council estates on the adjacent roads. Their residents are about to get a direct tube service to the West End, which will either strengthen and boost the local community or turbo-charge its downfall. By the look of the half-shuttered parade of Portuguese shops on Wilcox Road, commercial prospects are already weak even before the new hypermarket opens its doors.



Nine Elms remains very much a neighbourhood in flux, bearing only the first fruits of what's yet to come. The western rim of the power station and the blocks near Waitrose may be complete, but the next five years will see almost unimaginable levels of further redevelopment as Concierge City finally takes form. If you're planning to move in, well done, and I hope you enjoy your shoebox with its view of the balcony of the flat opposite. [14 photos]


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Sun 4 December (8am-10pm)
Tower Bridge fully closed
For one day only, cross the river by free passenger ferry!

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
scaryduck
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
onionbagblog
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2015 index
diamond geezer 2014 index
diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
penelope
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv