Kew Nuclear Power Station

© 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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2 Comments

  1. Jo
    Posted March 18, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    You might reconsider the text these days… after Fukushima neither the “widely accepted” nor the “best located near the populations they serve ” seem to be valid anymore. There is simply no way to control the leftovers for hundreds of thousands of years…

    • A Viewer
      Posted March 27, 2011 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      ‘after Fukushima neither the “widely accepted” nor the “best located near the populations they serve ” seem to be valid anymore’

      The same was said after Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl.

      After The ‘Great’ War (1914-18) the world had learned its lesson about war.

      Memories are short.

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