Battersea Power Station’s four iconic chimneys have now been completely rebuilt, as part of the restoration programme that will see the Grade II* listed building brought back into use after more than 30 years.

Since the rebuilding began on May 14th 2015, nearly 25,000 wheelbarrow loads of concrete have been hand-poured into special “jump form” shutters to recreate the chimneys which each stand 51 metres above the building. Rather than use hoses to pour the concrete, it was decided to replicate the original construction methods: some 680 tonnes of concrete have been lifted in hoists, transferred into wheelbarrows and then poured into the structures.

The rings that can be seen around the new chimneys, and could also be seen around the originals, are a result of the “jump form” method in which shutters are erected at the top of the growing chimney. They are then filled with concrete which is allowed to dry before the shutters move up again to create the next layer. In modern buildings the shutters would typically move up continuously to create a smooth exterior, but this technique was not in use when the Power Station was built. Overall, the hoists have travelled the equivalent of 21 miles, lifting concrete to the workers waiting on boards high above the ground.

The original chimneys – two were built in the 1930s and the second pair in the 1950s – had to be taken down: they had become dangerously unstable as a result of their many years of funnelling corrosive gases, and in part because salty Thames water was used to mix their concrete.

The dismantling and rebuilding of the chimneys, which was especially difficult due to the need to preserve the building beneath and the special methods which had to be used, won a prestigious award at the London Civil Engineering Awards last month.

The northeast and southwest chimneys will return to service as exhaust stacks, albeit much cleaner ones than in the old days: they will release the water vapour generated by the new clean, green Energy Centres which will provide heat, cooling and electricity to the new Battersea Power Station and potentially other buildings in the neighbourhood as well.

The northwest chimney is the last to be finished.

Rob Tincknell, CEO of the Battersea Power Station Development Company, said “Battersea Power Station’s chimneys have been the backdrop for films, music videos and album covers and really are world famous. On behalf of our shareholders, I would like to say it has been an honour to restore this iconic symbol to the London skyline so that it can be enjoyed by generations to come.”

The Malaysian shareholders of the Battersea Power Station project are committed to giving back to the communities in which they operate. They recognise the importance of creating shared value and this is embedded in all their undertakings to ensure that they contribute towards a harmonious and considerate community.

Battersea Power Station has now confirmed that Apple has agreed to lease office space within the historic Battersea Power Station.

Apple will be the largest office tenant at Battersea Power Station occupying approximately 500,000 sqft., across 6 floors of the central Boiler House inside the historic icon. Apple is expected to move into the Power Station in 2021.

Battersea Power Station will be Apple’s new London campus and its office will account for circa 40% of the total office space in the whole development.

Apple has today said it is looking forward to opening its new London campus at Battersea Power Station in 2021. 1400 Apple employees from existing offices around London will relocate to this magnificent new development at one of London’s best known landmarks. Apple has added, that this is a great opportunity to have its entire team working and collaborating in one location while supporting the renovation of a neighbourhood rich with history.

Dato’ Johan Ariffin, Chairman of Battersea Holding Company Limited, said “We are delighted to welcome Apple, the world’s most valuable brand, to Battersea Power Station, London’s most iconic development. This move by a brand of such calibre will serve to generate even more interest in Battersea with its vibrant mix of commercial, exciting retail and residential offerings in a cultural setting designed to drive innovation and enterprise. Apple can only strengthen this formula for success.”

Rob Tincknell, CEO of Battersea Power Station Development Company added: “We are delighted that Apple has chosen to make Battersea Power Station its home in 2021. It is testament to our fantastic building and the wider regeneration of the 42-acre site which offers a carefully curated mix of homes, businesses and leisure amidst extraordinary open spaces and new transport links. It has always been our clear objective to create one of London’s most thriving new communities and this commitment from Apple will undoubtedly help us achieve our goal.”

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London commented: “I am delighted that Apple is moving into Battersea Power Station‎, helping to generate new jobs and economic prosperity for Londoners. It is a further sign that London is open to the biggest brands in the world and the leading city for trade and investment.”

Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of the London Borough of Wandsworth said: “I’m very pleased to give Apple a warm welcome to the London Borough of Wandsworth. Apple will become the largest employer in the Borough and we are hugely excited that they will play a keen and active role in our local community.”

Danish architect, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has revealed an interesting concept to transform the four chimneys at the Battersea Power Station project in London into the largest Tesla coils on Earth.

The purpose of the coils would be as a form of public art, partially powered by the high volume of foot traffic that passes by underneath the giant chimneys. The pavement below could generate a kilowatt of energy from the pressure on plates created by footsteps – known as the piezoelectric effect. This energy would then create a spectacular burst of electricity between the chimneys – a physical testament to the true power of the collective.

Bjarke Ingels unveiled the unusual idea at a lecture at the Royal Academy, saying “We’re working with experts in Tesla coils, looking into how to incorporate them into the chimneys so essentially we might celebrate the transformation from carbon footprint to human footprint.”

“We imagine it like Big Ben; when the clock strikes the hour, we can have this celebration of human energy and human life.”

“It could be interesting to create a public artwork that ties into the heritage of the power plant.”

“We don’t have coal any more but we do have 50,000 people passing by every day.”

A Tesla coil (created by Nikola Tesla around 1891) consists of two parts: a primary coil and secondary coil, each with its own capacitor. (Capacitors store electrical energy just like batteries.) The two coils and capacitors are connected by a spark gap — a gap of air between two electrodes that generates the spark of electricity.

Electrical engineer Greg Leyh and his colleagues in San Fransisco are currently fundraising to construct two 37m Tesla coils in a bid to understand more about lightning. These are on track to be the largest in the world – however, Bjarke Ingels are proposing an astounding 91.5m set of coils.

Whilst unlikely to be approved, the concept illustrates that there are still bright sparks within the world of architecture; pushing boundaries and helping take the artform into the brave unknown.

The Battersea project is due to be completed in 2019.