Ralph Appelbaum Associates | Raise 109 first anniversary
Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA), Multidisciplinary company A company specializing in the planning and design of museums, exhibitions, educational environments and visitor attractions, is celebrating the first anniversary of the opening of Battersea Power Station’s unique chimney lift experience, Lift 109.
Elevator 109, which launched in November 2022, has ascended the building’s northwest chimney nearly 20,000 times. Thus, the elevator has traveled a distance of 2,000 kilometers, twice the length of the United Kingdom. As part of the “Lift 109 Lates” promotion, the attraction also hosted a number of sold-out events such as “Sundown Sessions” and “Full Moon Manifestation Workshops.” The attraction attracted critical acclaim, winning a 2023 Red Dot Award for Exhibition Design.
Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA) was the lead exhibit designer for the new chimney raising experience at Battersea Power Stationwith media design and production input from Squint/Opera and elevator design and construction by Otis.
Wilkinson Eyre was the lead engineer in the restoration of the power station itself, including a complete rebuild of the famous chimneys, using original construction methods from the 1930s and 1950s.
Philip TefftRAA London Studio Director says: “We are honored to have designed this unique experience in a timeless London icon. Celebrating the power station’s innovative design and its role as an industrial and cultural force in London has fueled our approach to creative design.
“Through careful coordination of dynamic lighting, generative media, graphic design and materiality, our design will immerse visitors in Battersea’s might and help them gain a new perspective on the London skyline and this historic landmark that has captured the public’s imagination for almost 90 years.”
Battersea Power Station (BPS) is at the heart of one of the largest, most visionary and eagerly anticipated new developments in central London, which sees this 42-acre (over 8 million sq ft) former industrial site transformed into home to a community of homes and shops. Commercial, cafes, offices and more than 19 acres of public space. This project creates a vibrant mixed-use development, a new neighborhood and commercial district in London served by an extension to the North London Underground line.
The project is generally divided into eight phases, each of which was designed by a group of specialized architects. These include SimpsonHaugh and Partners and De Rijke Marsh Morgan (dRMM) at Circus West Village (Phase 1), WilkinsonEyre at Battersea Electricity Station (Phase 2), and Foster + Partners and Gehry Partners at Electric Boulevard, which comprises Battersea Roof. Gardens and Prospect Place (Phase Three).
Construction officially began on July 4, 2013, which marks the 80th anniversary of this historic building that first generated energy. The power station itself was first opened to the public on Friday 14 October 2022 and has since welcomed more than 11 million visitors.
Across the 42-acre site, a new 24/7 community is being created with more than 250 shops and cafes.
and restaurants, a theatre, hotel, event venue and a 24,000-square-foot food hall within the Energy District
A station, medical center and 19 acres of public space including 450 meters from the river
Façade and public garden of six acres.
Work began on the New Northern Line Extension (NLE) in 2015 and Battersea Power Station Underground station opened on 20 September 2021. In the first year following its launch, more than 5 million journeys were made on the NLE.
25,000 people will live and work on the site when completed, creating one of the largest office, retail, leisure and cultural centers in London. BPS will be a new office district with over 3 million square feet of commercial space along with new, affordable private homes.
The Battersea Power Station site is owned by a consortium of Malaysian investors including PNB, Sime Darby Property, SP Setia and the Employees Provident Fund. The British-based Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC) is managing the project development.
Celebrating the heritage of Battersea Power Station
When designing the power station, one of the key principles was to retain and display as much of the original building as possible, paying tribute to its history and the vision of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.
To this end, the development reveals the terraced fabric and creates new and exciting spaces within the building to excite and delight visitors. After 30 years of careful restoration and preservation from dereliction, the power station was removed from Historic England’s At Risk Register in November 2021.
Renowned architecture firm WilkinsonEyre was invited to complete the overall design of the power station as part of the restoration team in 2013. Mace was the power station’s construction director, and the residential interiors were designed by London-based interior designer Michaelis Boyd Architects in a “high-end industrial style that serves as A tribute to the building’s history.
Chimneys are the DNA of the Battersea Power Station site. It is an internationally recognized landmark in the London skyline, and its reconstruction was the first and highest priority in the restoration of the iconic power station.
50 years of flue gas releases from one of the largest coal-fired power stations of its kind on the planet have taken their toll on smokestacks. As a result, it underwent a careful disassembly and rebuilding process to the exact specifications of the original chimneys. The age of the chimneys is now equal to the age of the renovated building.
The project team ensured that the reconstructed chimneys look exactly like their predecessors and will continue to shape the London skyline for many years to come using the original architects’ drawings and specifications. Deconstruction and restoration began in 2014, and by 2017, all four chimneys had been completely rebuilt and repainted.
Lift 109 It is a unique experience that takes tourists 109 meters to the top of the north-west chimney of Battersea Power Station, providing stunning 360-degree views across London.
Before entering lift 109, visitors can enjoy a state-of-the-art immersive exhibition in Turbine Hall A, which celebrates the historic and cultural impact of the Grade II listed building*.
The RAA has created a compelling experience that integrates carefully crafted narratives of architectural innovation, industrial strength and popular culture, to connect visitors with the enduring symbol of Battersea Power Station. It then transports them to the top to enjoy stunning panoramic views across the capital.
Once visitors enter the power plant’s stunning, restored Art Deco Turbine Hall A, they are dazzled by two large screens flanking the first-level exhibition space and displaying emotional media describing how the power plant has been a catalyst for “Enhancing the Imagination” since 1933. Between these large panels There is a brief chronology with images and content, which eloquently expresses Batteriesea’s ‘power’ to change and reinvent itself over time.
“Powering London,” an enormous interactive multi-player table and suspended dynamic light installation reminiscent of a turbine, takes center stage in space and story. Here, visitors are invited to learn about energy creation and control at Battersea Power Station, which once produced 20% of London’s electricity. As guests interact with the touch-screen table and “generate” energy together, the light fixtures above it rotate and shine brighter.
Aided by a wide range of stories, photographs, videos and interviews, the ‘Powering Design’ exhibition gives visitors an in-depth look at the revolutionary architecture of Battersea Power Station from the 1920s to the present. In the ‘Energy Culture’ section, they will also learn about the building’s rich cultural history through a carefully selected selection of original media and recordings that discuss the power station’s role as the setting and inspiration for a number of music videos, concerts, films and cultural events.
An exciting countdown marks the beginning of the next phase of the experience. Visitors enter a 360-degree interactive media space where energy particles spin, rise, fall and accelerate in response to touch, changing the focus from discovery and information to feeling and emotion.
Express elevators are used for the first half of the ascent, during which time the immersive soundtrack shares the sense of building energy and ascension with guests. It takes just 30 seconds to reach the base of the chimney, where guests can use QR codes to access information and stories.
After entering the chimney, guests continue their ascent via a second circular glass elevator while immersed in dynamic lighting set to a soundtrack that evokes rising energy. When Lift 109 reaches the top, a stunning 360-degree panorama opens up over London that has never been seen from this western vantage point before. At the top, visitors can interact with the city’s iconic skyline using QR code-enabled augmented reality technology and a graphic loop that reveals details of some of London’s most iconic landmarks.
Visitors can admire the stunning architecture of the chimney elevator as it descends, with a halo of gentle white light highlighting its detail and texture. Cultural references build an understanding of Battersea Power Station’s iconic status and inspire guests to purchase Power Station souvenirs from a retail area designed entirely by the RAA.
The full project team included:
Principal consultant for exhibition design and media artistic management: Ralph Appelbaum
Media design input and production: Squint Opera
Architect: Wilkinson Eyre
Elevator engineering/design: OTIS (main elevator) and Schindler (express elevators)
Audio-visual design and engineering: Sysco
Lighting design: Michael Group Studios
Security and MEP Consultant: Steensen Varming
Project Management and QS: Fraser Randall
Main contractor: Beck
Destination Strategy: Place Office
Photos: Andrew Lee; Joshua Atkins; John Sturrock; Brendan Bell
Last month, Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA) celebrated the redevelopment Middleton Distilling Experience (County Cork, Ireland). This collaboration with Irish Distillers has created a world-class, multi-sensory Irish whiskey experience.
Top type image courtesy of Joshua Atkins