Anti Beauty

I loved this building from the very first second I saw it. Today I saw it from close by.

And I see it often, my train passes it every day. It is without a doubt, the most beautiful ugly building in London, with Tate Modern being a good number 2. It still is powerful (once being a powerstation), it is huge, it is in decay, and the 4 chimneys look beautiful, both in rain, in morning light and in the evening catching the last rays of sunshine when I pass it on my way home. They can be seen from far away.

I have long wanted to see it from close by, but since it is on the edge of breaking down, the area surrounding it was closed, until about a week ago. Before they are going to transfer this fantastic building into something that Slartibartfast himself could have designed they were opening up the powerstation to the public. A last chance to see the building before it is changed into a most amazing science fiction like area. It was great to see this old building in the state it is today, but I look very much forward to the SF version too, it looks fantastic.
(The people that did the Sydney Opera House are going to manage this project, and did a part of the design too).

If you happened to have seen Children of Men you could have seen a future (heavily CGI manipulated) version of the Powerstation in the film.

There was a kind of art gallery thing going on in the building too, with Chinese video art, and some other weirdish things. But the biggest piece of art was the building itself, and if you are in London before the 6th of November, you might want to have a look. ?5 entrance.
(Take the tube to Vauxhall and walk a part of the Thames Path to get there. If you are lazy, take the bus to Battersea).

Here is one of my favourite pictures from today, which also show how huge the building really is.

10 thoughts to “Anti Beauty”

  1. Ooh, I’ll have to get down there. I work 10 minutes walk from it. Used to walk past it every day on my way home.

    You can also see a future (sort of) version of it in the Doctor Who episode The Age Of Steel.

  2. Beautiful. I love that site. At first I thought you were talking about the Tate, which is also pretty wonderful. I’m hoping to get to London next year, but by then, won’t it be on its way to the SF version? (I love your photos of London, Ingrid. You have such an eye for the city.)

  3. Oh I didn’t really know it was this famous! It has been in a lot of films, several Dr. Who episodes and on several LP covers. Wikipedia is the source:

    @Bloglily – this exhibition closes in November, so I am afraid that you will be arriving in the transformation period. :-) Be sure to send me a mail when you come to London, hopefully the Cafe is still around at that time.

  4. This is part of my childhood. Every trip to London passing it on the train, belching out clouds. Always thought of it as an upturned billiards table.

  5. Yeah, Animals. An album that has an equally stunning sleeve design, as the music and the building. I remember when I came to London and saw it from afar, I litterally got tears in my eyes.
    Can’t say I’m te pleased with the sf desing, but hey, if it can save the building.

  6. Well the building does consist of 4 walls and 4 chimneys mostly, the middle is complete gone already, and there is no roof either. So yes the SF setup is the only way to preserve it I’m afraid. But it will have public access area, and if it is going to look half as cool as the film I saw about it, it is going to be amazing. There will even be a lounge on top of one of the chimneys (probably no public access there though).

  7. Atrocious, I had to look that up.
    atrocious adj 1 colloq very bad. 2 extremely cruel or wicked

    But I guess you just meant to say that you think it’s an ugly building?

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