dRMM were asked to design a residential apartment building adjacent to one of the main railway lines into London as part of the first phase of the Battersea Power Station redevelopment. This difficult site located on the western edge of the existing masterplan was perceived as less attractive and of lower value due to the presence of the train tracks. However, recognising the flow of trains and the Thames as an important London experience, dRMM’s Faraday House embraces its position, making the most of sunlight and views to the river whilst acting as a playful marker of the regeneration for trains on the way into Victoria Station.
Faraday House is a long slim block, formed from a stack of through apartments orientated east/west that shift in response to the curve of the railway, breaking down the building mass and generating a restless form defined by projecting and recessed boxes. The 113 apartments are arranged in small clusters of three per stair core, allowing residents to meet and for neighbourliness to flourish, while maintaining an efficient NIA:GIA ratio and maximising dual aspect. Use of the staircases is encouraged by placing the cores on the glazed long elevations; the location of the cores switch as the building moves from north to south to respond to views to the river. Full height windows frame views of the River Thames and landscaped courtyard, enhancing the feeling of space and light, whilst private terrace balconies and roof-top gardens provide outdoor space.
The external detailing brings material delight and a crafted feel to the wider predominantly glass regeneration area. The eight storey building is clad in hand-finished copper alloy, reflecting warm light into the spaces around it and offering a strong identity. Perforated screens animate the façade and provide home owners with additional solar and acoustic control.
Recognising the quality of dRMM’s design, the client changed the scheme from buy-to-let to open market sale. Testament to their popularity, the apartments were amongst ‘the fastest selling London property development on record’ as reported by the Evening Standard on 14 January 2013.
In the context of Battersea Power Station, Faraday House is a comparatively small development that has brought delight in its form, material use and typological arrangement to this linear plot, defined on one site by a railway landscape and a captured residential courtyard to the other. The result is a better quality of life for residents and a striking composition for visitors by train as they travel into Victoria station.
Model and drawing © dRMM Architects
Photography © Andy Stagg, French & Tye, &
Battersea Power Station Development Co.