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Alsop & Stormer bags c/PLEX arts centre, amid controversy

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Alsop & Stormer has won the competition to design the controversial £35 million c/plex arts centre in West Bromwich, West Midlands, beating a distinguished shortlist of four others: Behnisch Behnisch and Partners, Michael Wilford & Partners, Branson Coates and Glenn Howell Architects.

The scheme, design details of which are not yet available, will include a ‘creative gallery’, education and training facilities, offices for client Jubilee Arts, managed workspaces and car parking. These will be integrated with a new public square, the first-ever in the borough of Sandwell.

The scheme has already received £2 million of development money from the Arts Council Lottery fund, and will be the subject of a full bid to the fund next year. Architect Rivington Street Studios, which did the preparatory design to secure the initial funding, is still seeking £200,000 of design fees for that work. Partner Charles Thomson said: ‘We are still looking for financial compensation and hope to find some non-adversarial way of coming to an agreeement.’ Since Rivington Street completed its work the site for the project changed, at which point Jubilee Arts launched the recent competition.

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