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Caribbean Heritage Centre sailes into Greenwich

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Vincent Thompson Architects has designed the Caribbean Heritage Centre, an 85m-long building designed to suggest an elegant ocean-going liner, to be built at Deptford Creek, Greenwich, in 2002.

The 6400m2, £20 million scheme, submitted for millennium funding last September, was conceived by broadcaster and oral historian Alex Pascall obe to showcase the history and culture of Caribbeans in this country.

The building's flowing lines recall the movement of water inside and out, and visitor access is via deck-like walkways. The western flank of faintly tinted glass gives panoramic views across to Canary Wharf and the Millennium Dome. Inside, pathways and watercourses weave around islands of activity 'reflecting the geography of the Caribbean Basin under an atrium roof shaped like a steel pan drum'. Other internal features include a 10m video wall; an interactive media room; a bridge over a foliage-frnged pool with waterfall, fish and tropical rainforest ambience; a school of Carnival costume design, a steel pan arcade; a 600-seat theatre, cinema and lecture room.

The centre will generate income by producing tv and radio programmes, and leasing out space for theatre, fashion displays, exhibitions, business seminars and school projects.

Pascall said: 'The Caribbean is here in the uk as well, and that's what the building wants to say.'

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