Frank Gehry to design part of London's Battersea power station scheme

Architect Frank Gehry speaks during a news conference to announce an arts and condo complex to be built on the King St. West site of the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto October 1, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Cassese

LONDON (Reuters) - The star architect Frank Gehry has been appointed to co-design part of a development at London’s Battersea power station, in what will be the Canadian-American’s first building in London.

Gehry, who designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, will jointly design the riverside scheme’s new shopping street and surrounding homes with the British firm Foster + Partners.

“Our goal is to help create a neighbourhood and a place for people to live that respects the iconic Battersea Power Station while connecting it into the broader fabric of the city,” Gehry said in a statement on Wednesday.

While buildings with Gehry’s trademark curved surfaces are scattered across the United States, his only other British project is in Dundee, Scotland.

The so-called Phase 3 will comprise two residential zones on either side of the high street with 1,200 homes, a hotel with a view of the power station, and shops and restaurants.

The power station, an iconic feature of London’s skyline thanks to its quartet of art deco chimneys, stood derelict on the south bank of the River Thames for about three decades until the 39-acre site was bought last year by a Malaysian consortium.

The overall plan is being designed by Rafael Vinoly, whose glass-clad “Walkie Talkie” skyscraper in London’s financial district recently gained fame for melting parts of a Jaguar car parked below with reflected sunlight.

The power station’s new owners, SP Setia, Sime Darby and the Employees Provident Fund pension fund, want to sell 3,400 homes to help the development hit a value of 8 billion pounds in 15 years’ time.

Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Kevin Liffey