BIG has unveiled the design for their addition to the development at Battersea Power Station, a public square that will link the power station itself with the Electric Boulevard development designed by Norman Foster and Frank Gehry. Called Malaysia Square after the Malaysian development consortium behind the plans, the design features cascading steps that link the main public space at the lower level with the entrance to the power station above. The split-level design also provides for two pedestrian bridges and a road bridge that cross above the "urban canyon" of the public square.
Inspired by Malaysia's landscape and geology, the development company describes the form of the square as reminiscent of the caves found in Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, East Malaysia. The square will be finished in limestone, granite, marble, sandstone, gravel and dolomite (all stone types that are found within Malaysia's geology), as well as some of the reclaimed material from the Power Station's chimneys, which are currently being reconstructed. At the centre of the space will be a fountain designed in the shape of a hibiscus, Malaysia's national flower.
"Situated at the very foot of the towering Battersea icon, the new Malaysia Square derives its shape from human flows, creating a cascading landscape carved into the street – or simply put form follows flow," describes Bjarke Ingels. "As an urban canvas of possibilities for cultural expression, where landscape, architecture, urbanism and media design are in complete harmony – the new Malaysia Square lends dignity to the majestic industrial heritage while paving the way for a new Malaysia identity."
The design of the square, developed by BIG along with structural engineers AKT II, lighting specialists Speirs + Major and the artist Jeppe Hein, "celebrates the historic ties between Malaysia and the UK," according to the developers, and will provide a space to showcase "the uniqueness of Malaysia’s fascinating culture, rich diversity and heritage" within London.
“The innovative and thoughtful concepts underlying the creation of Malaysia Square honours the heritage and shared history of two nations to form a vibrant and exciting public space for residents and visitors to meet, mingle and shape the future together," said Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, the Chairman of the Battersea Project Holding Company.