© Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones, aerial photograph by Jason Hawkes
In a neat finale to the exploration of power, this thematic group concludes with Kew Nuclear Power Station, a subject that addresses current debates considering the resumption of nuclear power. Where London’s power stations once produced clouds of steam over London, a new generation of nuclear power stations, like Sizewell B in Suffolk, would leave no visual trace on the landscape other than their own distinctive forms. In a perfect marriage of middle-class suburbia and industrial architecture, Graves and Madoc-Jones inserted an image of Sizewell B to an aerial view of Kew Gardens, over which hangs a pall of invented steam. The formal aspect of the power station’s domed structure mirrors the curved form of Kew’s famous 19th century glasshouse, while any quasi-religious connotations associated with the form of the power station are replaced by the recognizable nuclear symbol emblazoned on its façade. Glowing with a natural, almost ethereal, light, Kew Nuclear Power Station is a provocatively unsettling, but compelling image of 21st century London power.
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