The Failings of a Fleet of Fools: Encountering the interiors of disused power stations

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Aleks Catina


‘It is a philistine prejudice that conflicts and problems are dreamt up merely for the sake of their solution. Both in fact have additional tasks in the economy and history of life, tasks which they fulfil independently of their own solutions.’ 
- Georg Simmel

In November 1982 the New Scientist published a map of eleven power stations in Greater London which were lined up for decommission. With their institutional raison d’e?tre expired these objects no longer justified their monumental scale in the heart of the post-industrial city. Two shells, at Battersea and Bankside, escaped demolition and were earmarked for civic use. The encounter with these found interiors challenges the design expert to reflect upon what these seemingly alien spaces offer to an age in which the image of the contemporary prevails over sense of continuity.

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How to Cite
Catina, Aleks. 2013. “The Failings of a Fleet of Fools:: Encountering the Interiors of Disused Power Stations”. Idea Journal 13 (1):130-41.
text-based research essay
Author Biography

Aleks Catina, The Cass, London Metropolitan University

Aleks Catina works as a lecturer at the Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design in London. The Problem of Irony, a seminar series he developed for the MA History Theory and Interpretation in Architecture, debates the validity of qualitative assumptions regarding the originality, contemporality and universality of architectural propositions, built, thought and imagined. In his writing he looks at ways of perceiving, talking about and communicating through architecture after the rise of a culture of self-awareness, and uncertainty, in Western Civilization. His current project folly, adjective traces the defeated sense of the past in the adornment of today’s urban realm through facades and interiors. The work with students, from the youngest to the most mature, allows him to witness close up an ever-changing perception of where we want to be.