I am very keen on the conservation of old buildings and believe that preservation, restoration, renovation and remodelling play an essential part in sustainable development, especially in cities. I have to agree however with Robin Ashford's letter (NCE 4/11 August) about Battersea Power Station;
if the chimneys need to be demolished on structural grounds then surely this is the end of the building's life. The chimneys are iconic and as a Pink Floyd fan I am fond of their distinctive appearance, but rebuilding them to look the same is a poor solution from engineering, architectural and conservation viewpoints.
If, as Antony Oliver argued in the previous NCE, a bypass to Stonehenge cannot be justified then surely the same arguments apply to Battersea.
I believe that as engineers we have not spoken up enough in the past to save old buildings and have given way to the purely economic arguments of developers, but the issue with Battersea is beyond economics; it is undoubtedly a waste of money - especially if any of it comes from public funds - but the result will be a fake; chimneys with no purpose, which are not even original.
Borrowing from Pink Floyd, I propose a cheaper alternative: an inflatable replica!
Borrowing from Spinal Tap:
possibly at one tenth scale!
Andrew Wood, A & S Wood Ltd, 21 Victoria Avenue, Haworth, West Yorkshire, BD22 8HP