Most of the good things that Soviet Union has left Georgia with is the industrial architecture of the buildings, which is characteristic for a particular place and creates a fascinating environment. Lots of abandoned, half-ruined buildings embedding rich history have remained and the most hurtful feeling is their existence in such a form. A lot of lives have been spent in these factories, laboratories, and substations. All of these objects were playing an important part in social life and economy at the same time. Nowadays these buildings are either at the verge of dying out or acquired by the investor and the very foundations of other buildings dismantled.
Unfortunately, no one has thought of using this exotic to their advantage and turning them into interesting objects without losing their cultural values. They do exist, but being dirty, in a dirty environment and no one considers restoring their dignity.
London’s one of the industrial remnants, namely Battersea power station has finished such existence and soon the sleeping giant will rise again. This article is a story of its glory, fall and revival from ashes.
Location: London, UK
Architect: Giles Gilbert Scott
Author of Renovation Project: Wilkinson Eyre
Site Area: 17 000 sq.m.
Completion of the project: Year 2020
First commissioned in 1927, the biggest brick building in Europe coal-fired power station generated electricity throughout London for almost 50 years, becoming the most distinctive feature on the city skyline.In 1964 the power station became a victim of fire. This accident has inspired lots of artists to create different typesof artworks, including songs, movies and fine art. The emotional and visual effect was amazing. The power station stopped operating in 1983 and the structure began to die, but in fact it appeared that it was just the beginning of the second life. The power station was sleeping till 2012, when Malaysia’s SP Setia has bought it and recovery has begun.
The function of the building was changed and it became a multipurpose complex with panoramic rooftop garden. The structure was not demolished and there was left as much as possible from the old building. The remains of modernism and art deco became a dignity of style again. Old cranes, windows, adverts, every little detail that could be saved was naturally included into new interior and exterior. Iconic chimneysstill have their own place in London panorama. Despite a complicated reconstruction process they were still left as a significant part of building. Structure with corroded steel reinforcement and cracked concrete will be replaced with a full analog.
New spaces are absolutely contemporary but imbued with a spirit of authentic style. No doubt it should be so as the building was designed by an author of Liverpool Cathedral, Waterloo Bridge and iconic London red telephone box. Creating of new does not mean total destruction of the old. Novelty can be naturally connected to the fundament left by past. Precious moments of victory, joy, disappointment, discovery and many others form a building together with volumes, geometry, color, light and other physical components of it.
And again, if we return to Georgia: the previous century left us a lot of valuable constructions. It’s almost surreal to view lifeless life of buildings and their environment. All these buildings are part of our culture and history, and perhaps the most exciting would be to see them restored from the ashes and getting their old self back.
P.S.: Below are a few photos of remains of industrial buildings in Georgia, which we think are the most suited to this article, and hopefully someday will be able to get a new life.
Author: Tata Alkhazashvili, Nanuka Zaalishvili
English Edit: Nino Namoradze
Cover Artwork: Jayson Lilley
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