Battersea Power Station
Location: Village Courtyard, Battersea, London
Brick Manufacturer: Northcot Brick, Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC
Brick Name: Battersea Blend 1, Battersea Blend 2, Nine Elms Commons
Architect: WilkinsonEyre, Purcell Architecture Ltd, Nansi Jones
Brickwork Contractor: Paye Stonework and Restoration
About the project
"This colossal heritage project has exercised both creativity and innovation to overcome the many challenges on such a large scale"
Purcell worked alongside Wilkinson Eyre, with Paye Stonework and Restoration on a programme of seamless repair to restore the integrity of the original elevations. Critical to this was architect David Hills’ discovery of the original brick maker, Northwick Brick and Tile, now known as Northcot Brick, still working the same Jurassic Lias clay and using the original 1920s clay preparation machinery.
Manufacturing details of the original bricks were lost but, combining both old and new techniques, Northcot created bricks of the correct size, colour, density, strength, and porosity, all hand-blended in precise ratios to duplicate the original colour palettes.
Representative areas on the building were identified. After cleaning, different ‘types’ of bricks were picked out, responding to different surface qualities and colours. Each was assigned a type number and individually matched. Drawings were also produced to establish percentages of each individual type.
Unique blends were manufactured to correspond to the types identified. Each sample took one month to produce. This included the production of bespoke sizes to match the originals. Sample panels were then constructed on site for approval by Historic England and London Borough of Wandsworth under the Listed Building Consent.
A team of five men made 1.3 million bricks entirely by hand, for the exterior pre-war walls: -
• “Battersea Blend 1” - comprised six different (65mmx227mmx108mm) brick types, with a sanded texture, and colours ranging from dark brown through purple, orange‐brown and brown-pink.
• “Battersea Blend 2” - comprised seven different (65mmx225mmx110mm) types, paler, varying from red/ brown through pink/brown, yellow, dark red/grey & light-grey with brown clinker speckling.
The seamless repair of the original facades is testament to the skill of the whole team involved for the past seven years breathing new life into the iconic building.
Sponsored by Wienerberger Limited
At Wienerberger Limited we’re building beyond what we know to be possible today, and rethinking how we create value for our customers and partners, our people and our communities. Our sustainability strategy ‘Let’s Build Beyond’ looks ahead to 2030 and we have already set workstreams in motion to help us to reach our goals.