Ian Simpson and DRMM are first to be selected as Viñoly’s Battersea masterplan wins final approval.

Battersea Power Station’s architectural rebirth has begun after the developer appointed Ian Simpson Architects and DRMM to work up plans for the first phase of the £5.5 billion project.

The latest in a long series of plans for Giles Gilbert Scott’s long-neglected landmark had been on the blocks since 2007 when current developer Treasury Holdings appointed Rafael Viñoly to work up a 750,000sq m masterplan. This was approved last year by the local council and London mayor Boris Johnson and this week given the green light by communities secretary Eric Pickles.

Simpson and DRMM were chosen out of six firms invited by Treasury Holdings back in December to submit proposals for the 90,000sq m first phase, known as RS1, which will feature around 900 apartments, including student accommodation and a 120-bedroom hotel.

The practices that missed out were Hawkins Brown, Conran & Partners, Irish firm O’Mahony Pike and Glenn Howells.

Viñoly himself assessed all six bids, flying over from New York and interviewing the teams. He said: “Both architects demonstrated a bold design approach whilst remaining commercially realistic and understanding.”

Rafael Viñoly personally interviewed the six teams bidding to work on his masterplan

Simpson will be given the bulk of the £250 million first phase with the Manchester practice responsible for 80,000sq m including the student accommodation, the hotel and private and rented housing. DRMM will design the remaining 200- room private housing block.

“We don’t want another run-of-the-mill residential scheme,” said Treasury Holdings managing director Rob Tincknell. “We want it to be a real exemplar of work and place-making. We were very impressed with these guys”

As part of the bidding process, all the practices spent a week at Treasury Holdings’ offices at the power station before submitting their bids last month.

“They will be based here and we wanted to make sure we could work with them,” explained Tincknell, who added that he had also travelled up to Manchester to see Simpson’s buildings for himself.

“He’s lived in the schemes he’s built which is a good thing I think,” he remarked.

The developer, which has asked US property firm Cushman & Wakefield to help secure funding for the overall project, will submit a detailed planning application for RS1 later this year with construction due to start on site next summer.