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Malaysia Square in London’s £8b Battersea project unveiled

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PUTRAJAYA: Battersea Project Holding Co Ltd (BPHC) showcased the design here for the proposed “Malaysia Square” in the £8 billion (RM43.19 billion) Battersea Power Station (BPS) project in London yesterday.

The design was unveiled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who was on an official visit to Kuala Lumpur.

“Today, we are proud to present Malaysia Square at BPS, which marks yet another milestone in our journey with the development since its first launch in January 2013. This caps a remarkable year which began with the London launch of Phase 2 in May followed by a global 13-cities launch of the commercial space together with Phase 3 on Oct 31,” said BPHC chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin.

The idea of Malaysia Square was first conceived by its owners, the Malaysian consortium of S P Setia Bhd, Sime Darby Properties Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund. An international design competition was held to find the best architects, landscape architects and placemakers to design a civic space that celebrates the historic ties between Malaysia and the UK; enables the name of Malaysia to be set in perpetuity in the centre of London; and recognises Malaysia’s stewardship of the renaissance of the iconic Power Station building.

“BPS is a monument to modernist architecture. So, this design brief must have been slightly overwhelming — like being asked to knock up an extra pyramid, or build a new turret for the Taj Mahal. And yet, even in a space as iconic as BPS, I believe Malaysia Square will hold its own,” said Najib during his speech.

Malaysia Square will link the southern entrance of the restored Grade II-listed power station that has been re-imagined by Wilkinson Eyre Architects and the top of the new Electric Boulevard high street that runs between Foster + Partners’ ‘Battersea Roof Gardens’ and Gehry Partners’ ‘Prospect Place’.

The Copenhagen and New York-based Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG) won the design competition that was launched in June 2014. Other contributors to BIG’s winning design team included structural engineers AKT II, lighting specialists Speirs + Major and the artist Jeppe Hein.

“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. It is the shareholders’ fondest wish that this will become an enduring landmark which celebrates the best of global East-West collaborations while giving every Malaysian who visits this spot in Central London a true sense of belonging and reminder of home,” said Liew.

The design centres on a two-level urban canyon with integrated bridges and stairways that are inspired by Malaysia’s landscape and geology. The spaces will be clad with limestone, granite, marble, sandstone, gravel and dolomite striations that will lead people through the square. One further cladding finish that will be included to symbolise the links between Malaysia and the UK is the use of reclaimed Power Station chimney material that would be sourced from the rebuild programme that is currently underway.

A fountain planned for the central amphitheatre is set to be designed in the shape of a hibiscus — Malaysia’s national flower. Each of the five ‘petals’ represents one principle each from the Rukunegara.

“Once the generator of megawatts, BPS’ revamp is now sparking the wider rejuvenation of a once forgotten and neglected part of the capital, supporting tens of thousands of new homes and jobs and delivering regeneration on a scale rarely seen before. Bjarke Ingels Group’s concept will ensure that this incredible project has a dynamic public square that offers Londoners and visitors an inspirational experience that will live long in the memory,” said Johnson.

As at Nov 17, nearly half of the recently launched Phase 3 homes had been sold in the first three weeks of the global tour with some 60% of the total sales going to locals in London. Homes were sold in all of the global cities in the tour except for New York, where only marketing was permitted.

 

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 2, 2014.

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