Renovating Power Plants: An Example from London, England

London 219

I began thinking recently, in light of the demolition of the Venice Power Plant, how much better it would have been if another use could have been found for the massive building and its stunning open floor plan. London, England, did just when it converted the old Bankside Power Plant into the Tate Modern Art Gallery. There are numerous abandoned power plants around St. Louis, and only a couple have been renovated; many more remain empty, if crumbling, blank slates. Hopefully renovation of these iconic if no longer functional buildings will continue, as it does in England. Apologies for the dark photos; it’s really, really cloudy in England in the winter! See the Musee d’Orsay for comparison (final photos).

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tom Maher-Kirkwood says:

    This is one of the two plants featured in Ian McKellen’s “Richard III” film? This is the one which was used as the brooding prison.
    What a cast! What a movie!
    I taped it years ago and watch it at least once a year.

  2. samizdat says:

    Funny thing about big buildings like this: you THINK they’re big on the outside, and then you go inside, and your jaw hits the floor. I temped back a few years ago, and was sent to the old Stupp complex on Weber. Big building (the one visible from the road), I thought, walking up to it, but when I got inside…DAMN! Guess you need a building like that to build bridges, eh? Last I know, the company which refurbishes generators and steam turbines (for power stations; fancy that) at the time I temped for them is still there.

    Handsome structure, this. I wonder who manufactured the overhead crane.

    As for why the STL doesn’t do this, I think the answer is obvious: no interest, no imagination, and no funds (see 1 and 2) for such a project. And of course, development in London didn’t leave too much behind with regards to real estate, unlike Venice, E. STL., Brooklyn, Wellston, etc. Too valuable in a City which clearly has plans (most are probably good), and carries them out. Unlike STL, which makes plans as a matter of course, but never carries any of them out, as there was not likely any intention to do so in the first place. And of course, when developers and bigwigs, and large institutions can basically make the City their bitch (SLU’s Shame and Roddy’s Piles, Grand Center, BJC, Cardinals/Cordish, etc., etc., etc.,), why do they need to try innovative, imaginative, and thoughtful ideas? They have the “leadership” of this burg by the balls, and the citizenry in their thrall.

    It’s embarrassing, really.

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