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Calls to rebuild boathouse rejected in favour of new design

The architect behind this proposed boathouse for University College Oxford has hit back at calls to rebuild the original building - six years after it burned down.

Belsize Architects, which won the competition to design the £1.8 million replacement boathouse last June, believes there is no point in trying to recreate the Grade II-listed building, despite local protests.

Practice principal Shahriar Nasser said: 'We are talking about a building that is almost totally destroyed.

'The argument might make sense if the building was at the stage where it could be rescued.

But it is not. This has given us the opportunity to start something new, something which we hope will be a very positive addition to a city rich with fantastic architecture.' However, Oxford architect Jack McNaney disagrees, and is battling for a scheme more in keeping with the original Victorian building designed by John Oldrid Scott.

He said: 'This is not an appropriate building for the site. In this case I'm on the side of Victorian pastiche.

'The boathouse was a splendid building and once it is gone it will be forgotten in a couple of years, ' he added.

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