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Architect Plans to Turn a Power Plant into the World's Tallest Tesla Coils

Bjarke Ingels wants to turn the chimney stacks of Battersea Power Station into human-powered induction coils.

Battersea Power Station's Malaysia Square

For better or worse, London's Battersea Power Station is one of the most recognizable buildings in the city. The former coal-fired power plant sits on the bank of the River Thames and its fame is mostly due to its four iconic white chimney stacks, which once featured a pig floating between two of them on Pink Floyd's Animals album cover. Now, Danish architecture firm, BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), have proposed turning these 100 meter tall Art Deco pillars into the world's tallest Tesla coils.


After remaining derelict for years, the entire power station is being redeveloped and turned into luxury flats and a shopping precinct, and BIG are involved in designing a large public square, known as Malaysia Square, at the foot of the building. The Tesla coil chimney artwork would be used to generate energy from people walking through this square using a piezoelectric sidewalk.

Tesla coil. © Fir0002/Flagstaffotos / Wikimedia Commons

Architect Bjarke Ingels unveiled the idea at the Annual Architecture Lecture held at London's Royal Academy in July. "We're working with experts in Tesla coils, looking into how to incorporate it into the chimneys so essentially we might celebrate the transformation from carbon footprint to human footprint," Dezeen reports Ingels as saying. "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. Just looking into the available technology of piezoelectric pavements, we just did the simple math. With 50,000 people walking over it every day we would actually be able to generate quite a large amount of energy."

The energy would be released as the Tesla coils created a magnificent, crackling arc between the chimneys. Ingels says that at the moment, the idea has yet to be approved, but he believes it's entirely possible.

Malaysia Square where the piezoelectric sidewalk will be Image via


Battersea Power Station. © Gaetan Lee / Wikimedia Commons

Via Dezeen

Click here for more from Bjarke Ingels Group.


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