Gallery: London’s Palestra Going Green With New Wind Turbines


Palestra, the stunning home of the London Development Agency and the London Climate Change Agency, is due to have new wind turbines installed after a component failure in 2006. Two new types of turbine will be trialled, with the more successful of the two to be installed in full in the first quarter of 2008. We’re also using this news as an excuse to cover the RIBA-award winning building as a whole, which is as gorgeous as it is green.

Costing £68 million (around $120 million USD), Palestra was designed by Alsop Architects and is located in South London. Despite being designed for multiple occupancy, it’s actually been filled by just two organizations: London Development Agency, which works to improve quality of life for all Londoners and drive sustainable economic growth, and the LDA-owned London Climate Change Agency (LCCA), which promotes alternative energy and helps London reduce its CO2 emissions.

The building is the LDA’s way of leading by example, showing it to be a forward-thinking, inclusive organization to help make London a sustainable world city. Photovoltaics and the soon-to-be-reinstalled wind turbines on the roof provide a portion of the building’s energy, possibly soon to be joined by fuel cell technology – making it the first in London to incorporate this kind of energy.

The interior pushes the building’s progressive nature even further: the LDA wanted a space that supported its non-hierarchical business structure, which the designers brought to life through abundant levels of daylight and flexible floorplates that allow for dynamic use of the space. Even entering the building is intended to be a memorable experience, with a ground-scraping base slab that lifts up, cantilevering six meters above the pavement. The designers were constantly aware of the ability of well-designed space to improve inhabitant wellbeing, boost productivity and encourage staff retention. It’s also key in creating icons for London’s vision as we move towards 2012.

+ Alsop Architects
Via London Development Agency


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  1. Simon March 3, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Not enough research has been done yet to prove the ‘whole-life’ ability of micro-renewables to reduce carbon emmissions. We need to consider production of components, transport for both delivery and maintenance, production and delivery of access equipment, the replacement of installations (whole or part) and the disposal/recycling of redundant equipment.

    As far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out on this technology

  2. Nick Simpson March 3, 2008 at 6:12 am

    Thanks Cate! I have a funny feeling that they’ve almost made up their minds on the Swifts if they’re going to trial it against “another” turbine, however you never know.

  3. Cate Trotter March 1, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Yup, it’s the new Swift II wind turbine – which has been developed by Renewable Devices using re-engineered software and different construction to the original Swift Turbines – and one other turbine.

  4. Nick Simpson March 1, 2008 at 9:35 am

    I have to admit, the next time I’m down in London I’d like to see this one, as crazy as Alsop is percieved to be he can really design a building… A shot or two of the organic looking entrance (or is it a visitor centre?) would be great too… Anyway, great to see they’re trialing two turbines, anyone know what models they are?

  5. Kat February 29, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    feels a lot like the seattle art museum. i rather like it.

  6. Joyce February 28, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    That is one unique piece of architecture!

  7. oakling February 28, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Holy crap, an invisible building!

  8. Jason Macosa February 28, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    It may be green but is extremely ugly. Looks like an ice cube tray turned on it side.

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