Most people probably recognize London's Battersea Power Station as the eerie structure featured on the cover of Pink Floyd's iconic album Animals. While the plant has been shuttered for nearly 30 years, the future of the building has been cause for debate for nearly as long. Preservationists have fought for designs that keep the integrity of the building intact, while others have been pushing for a reuse plan as epic as the building's significance in pop culture. Although proposals have ranged from a new soccer stadium for Chelsea FC to an "eco-dome" that shoots up to the sky, last year the station's next life was penned as a mixed-use destination with apartments, offices, and shopping center. However that hasn't stopped Atelier Zündel Cristea from dreaming up a fantastical idea of their own: a heart-dropping rollercoaster that would orbit the station.
The studio’s concept was awarded first prize in ArchTriumph competition to find innovative, new ways the crumbling brick landmark could be used as an exhibition center dedicated to architecture. The project places the power station at its heart and offers visitors a unique way of experiencing the exterior of building from all vantage points by taking a thrilling ride on a massive rollercoaster. The design also accommodates those more faint of heart, where visitors can explore the structure using one of the many rollercoaster walkways that look towards the structure and out to the city of London. On the inside, the architects take a different approach, providing a calm and contemplative interior dedicated to creating an immersive experience while viewing the collections on display.
“Our project puts the power station on center stage,” says Atelier Zündel Cristea. “The structure itself enhancing the site through its impressive scale, its architecture, and its unique brick material. Our created pathway links together a number of spaces for discovery: the square in front of the museum, clearings, footpaths outside and above and inside, footpaths traversing courtyards and exhibition rooms. The angles and perspectives created by the rail’s pathway, through the movement within and outside of the structure, place visitors in a position where they can perceive simultaneously the container and its contents, the work and nature.”