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'COPYCAT' ROW OVER HOVE TOWER

NEWS

An extraordinary state of affairs which has seen one practice dropped and another looking into issues of copyright infringement has broken out over a contentious site on the South Coast.

The debacle centres on the Medina House site in Hove, just along the seafront from Frank Gehry's King Alfred project, a plot which was being redeveloped until this week by John McAslan + Partners - before the practice was dropped by the developer.

And now, in a bizarre twist, this developer, property firm Deltastar, is facing potential accusations of copyright infringement by Danish giant 3XN after it released images of a concept scheme it claims to have drawn up in-house.

Amazingly, it seems that yet another big name from architecture is set to wade into the fiasco, with CZWG's Piers Gough reportedly interested in taking on the project from McAslan.

This is not the first time the site has been embroiled in controversy. Back in 2002 it was subject to a planning application drawn up by Lomax Cassidy & Edwards - also for Deltastar - which was suddenly pulled.

Following a design competition earlier this year McAslan was appointed for a fresh redevelopment attempt - but not for long.

Deltastar's Sirus Taghan told the AJ this week that they weren't satisfied with McAslan's work.

'We have put [McAslan] on hold, ' he said. 'We weren't happy with the progress? they just weren't getting on with it.

Also we thought they were not imaginative enough. They couldn't progress it and they couldn't take it forward.

'This new concept scheme that we've been publicising was drawn up in-house, ' he added.

But Deltastar itself now appears to be in trouble - due to these concepts. 3XN's founding partner Kim Herforth Nielsen was surprised with what he saw as the likeness of the images published in Brighton's local press to one of his own projects.

'It resembles our Nordhavnen Residences towers [from 2004], ' he said.

'It is really amateur-like.

They've done it all wrong.

They've put this amorphous freestanding tower in a position where it shouldn't be.'

Whereas 3XN's project is in an open space, Nielsen said that 'this has put the tower in a dense urban street'.

'We are looking into the copyright issues and thinking about legal proceedings.

'The whole thing makes me feel sad, ' Nielsen added.

Unsurprisingly, McAslan's practice was not entering into a spat. 'Following a competition nine months ago John McAslan + Partners was selected to design a replacement building for the Medina House site in Hove, Brighton, ' it said in a statement.

'The practice looked at various options but are no longer involved with the project, ' the statement added.

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