Glass lift viewpoint opens within Battersea Power Station chimney

Lift 109 attraction in Battersea Power Station chimney by Ralph Appelbaum Associates and WilkinsonEyre

The Lift 109 viewpoint designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates has opened within the rebuilt chimney of Battersea Power Station in London, which was recently revamped by architecture studio WilkinsonEyre.

Named Lift 109, due to the fact the lift will take visitors 109 metres up in the air to give views across London and the power station, the attraction opened to the public last week.

“There is nothing like it anywhere,” said Ralph Appelbaum Associates director Phillip Tefft.

“It is a captivating, narrative-led journey that immerses visitors in the power of Battersea and transports them upwards into the light, emerging from the chimney top to an astonishing panoramic view,” he told Dezeen.

Rebuilt chimney of Battersea Power Station in London
Lift 109 occupies the power station’s north-west chimney. Photo by Brendan Bell

The attraction occupies the power station’s north-west chimney, which was entirely rebuilt as part of the rejuvenation of the Grade II*-listed building.

The glass lift rises up through the chimney before emerging from its top to where visitors will have 360-degree views through its walls.

Glass lift at Battersea Power Station
The lift has views across London

A graphic ring surrounding the lift shows icons depicting the significant buildings that can be seen, while QR code-activated augmented reality (AR) technology provides additional information.

Inside the chimney, a series of fluorescent red lights were designed to enhance the “turbo-charged ascent”, while a soundscape was created to “evoke rising energy”.

Inside Battersea Power Station chimney
The chimney contains a multi-media installation

The visitor attraction also includes a multi-level museum that was designed in collaboration with digital studio Squint/Opera. It is entered from the art deco Turbine Hall A, which was originally completed in the 1930s as part of the first phase of the power station before it was expanded to create the current four-chimney form.

Ralph Appelbaum Associates and WilkinsonEyre aimed to retain many of the building’s original features within the spaces, which are juxtaposed with multimedia displays.

The exhibition includes an interactive display called Powering London that aims to explain how the power station, which was once responsible for creating a fifth of London’s power, worked.

Alongside it, displays called Powering Design and Powering Culture focus on the building’s design and cultural significance.

Lift with glass walls
The lift has glass walls

“Once inside, the low rumble of visitors ‘creating energy’ around the Powering London interactive can be heard across the Turbine Hall,” explained Tefft.

“We’re drawn in and we join others generating spiralling light rising into the turbine-like sculpture suspended above. On the cue of the countdown clock, we enter the media immersion space and begin our journey upwards, pulsing to the top of London.”

Lift 109 visitor attraction
The attraction contains aseries of exhibitions about the power station

Lift 109 is the latest part of the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station to have completed as part of the overall of the building by WilkinsonEyre, after it was decomissioned in the late 1970s and was subsequently empty for almost 30 years.

A shopping centre containing over 100 retail outlets opened to the public last month, while a 46,000-square-metre office space for technology brand Apple designed by Foster + Partners is set to complete next year. Over 250 apartments were also created as part of the redevelopment.

The historic building sits at the centre of a wider development that will contain over 4,000 homes when complete and contains buildings designed by Foster + Partners and Gehry and Partners. The redevelopment of the site has been widely criticised for the low percentage of affordable housing. Only nine per cent of the homes are affordable, which is well below the 15 per cent originally agreed upon when the development began.

The photography is by Joshua Atkins.

Project credits:

Lead consultant exhibition design and art direction of media: Ralph Appelbaum Associates
Media design input and production: Squint Opera
Architect: Wilkinson Eyre
Lift engineering/design: OTIS (main lift) and Schindler (express lifts)
Audiovisual hardware design and engineering: Sysco
Lighting design: Michael Grubb Studios
Security and MEP consultant: Steensen Varming
Project management and QS: Fraser Randall
Lead contractor: Beck
Destination strategy: Blace Bureau

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