This morning Brent Cross Town has unveiled a colourful ‘wrap’ around its new substation, making the electrical generation building a major piece of art and new exciting landmark.
The artwork, a unique multi-coloured and striped structure encasing the substation, bearing the phrase “Here we come, Here we rise and shine”, has been designed by London-based artist Lakwena in collaboration with Bermondsey-based architects IF_DO.
The piece is set to become an iconic part of Brent Cross Town’s landscape: not only is it 21-metre-high and 52-metre-long, making it taller than the Angel of the North, but it is estimated that as many as six million people will see the work every year as they pass it by rail and by road.
Sadiq Khan said: “Lakwena has created an incredible artwork that brings together creativity and sustainability and will be enjoyed by millions of people. London is a world class cultural capital and this major addition to our public realm in the heart of Brent Cross is another example of how we’re working together to build a better London for everyone.”
IF_DO. have tried to add a sense of movement to the substation by using panels and bands inspired by artwork such as the famous Horse in Motion series by Eadweard Muybridge as well as other roadside constructions.
Sarah Castle, Director at IF_DO, said: “It is rare to have the opportunity to work on a project of the scale and ambition of this, and to be able to realise it with such conceptual purity. Combining architecture, infrastructure and art, it has been a wonderfully collaborative process from the start, with IF_DO manipulating form and shape, and Lakwena exploring colour and poetry.”
The piece, which is located next to London’s A406 North Circular, and close to a Thameslink railway line, is the latest in a series of regeneration projects taking place in Brent Cross Town, which is currently undergoing massive redevelopment.
Brent Cross Town has a target of achieving net zero carbon by 2030, and the substation will provide all the inhabitants with electricity, as well as new office, retail and leisure spaces and as many as 6,700 new homes. Brent Cross Town plans to source all of its electricity, or at least, those parts that it has control over, from 100 per cent renewable sources.
Brent Cross Town is being delivered in partnership between Related Argent and Barnet Council. To help Brent Cross Town achieve its net zero carbon by 2030, Brent Cross Town partnered with Swedish energy company Vattenfall. Vattenfall will design, build and operate the district heating network at Brent Cross Town.
In keeping with its sustainable goals, the artwork was also designed with the guidance of British sustainable engineer group Arup, who helped to reduce the new structure’s environmental impact; it is made of around 50 per cent salvaged steel, and the concrete is made of both low cement concrete and a new ‘Earth Friendly’ (concrete free) Concrete. This combination saves between 33 and 70 per cent of normal embodied carbon rates (the carbon dioxide which is released by an infrastructure over the course of its life).
Other collaborators on the project include Gillespies Landscape Architects, who designed the nature-filled embankment, and Michael Grubb Studio, who worked on the artwork’s “halo” lighting.
Ben Glover, an Arup associate director, said: “Brent Cross Town’s substation presented a unique opportunity to be part of a project which equally prioritises environmental, social and economic factors - driving sustainable development. By choosing materials based on their carbon impact, reusing materials and reducing waste, we’re proud to have met this challenge with circular economy principles and deliver a net-zero substation for the development.”