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Design Review slates Waterloo skyscraper

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CABE's Design Review Committee has launched a searing attack on RHWL's plans for a 'sailshaped skyscraper' on London's South Bank, saying the £250 million plans will 'please neither CABE nor cabbies'.

The watchdog was 'disappointed' with the 33-storey block near Waterloo and felt 'firmly that the design does not meet the standard of excellence required for a building of such prominence on the capital's skyline'.

Peter Stewart, director of the Design Review Commitee, said: 'A project of this scale inevitably assumes a public aspect and everyone will have a view. We think the applicants need to do a lot more work to convince everyone this will be a great thing for the South Bank and the capital.'

The committee added that the plans did not compare favourably with that of other recent projects of such size and prominence, such as Foster's Swiss Re tower.

The committee was also unhappy with the quality and scale of the external spaces in the proposals - which were drawn up for P&O Developments on the Elizabeth House site next to the train station (AJ 11.3.04).

'Basic urban design and architectural concepts to do with the urban grain, public-realm design, quality of spaces proposed and the built form need to be addressed, ' Stewart said.

'The insufficient analysis of external space concerns the committee, who suggest that important detailed design work is lacking, ' he added.

CABE questioned planned vehicular and pedestrian routes, and suggested that plans to realign York Road had not been thought out enough.

However, Bill Edgerley, managing director of P&O Developments, said he was not too 'put out' by the CABE pasting.

'There are more fundamental issues than the shape of the tower and these include its relationship to the public realm, ' he added.

'CABE has been supportive over the months but public views have to be taken on board.'

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