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Fresh RSC threat as architect walks

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Britain's first public building by a female architect is under threat after Erick van Egeraat walked out on a £100 million scheme, conservationists have warned.

The Royal Shakespeare Company's (RSC) new Stratford Theatre project includes proposals for a redesign or replacement of its main theatre, the Grade II Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

But the Twentieth Century Society believes the future of this Art Deco block, designed after a 1928 competition win by Elizabeth Scott, cousin of Sir Giles, may be under greater threat following van Egeraat's departure. Van Egeraat quit recently urging a 'rethink' of the scheme (AJ 27.5.04).

'The project needs someone of a really high calibre? with the same vigour as van Egeraat, ' said the society's director Catherine Croft, who is keen to see the facade, main foyer and staircase saved from demolition.

'It's a great building and needs a contemporary architect to do something imaginative. The auditorium can go, so a highly creative solution is still possible. But the modern parts must be respected.'

Croft said van Egeraat had been happy to consult with the society on the theatre, described as a 'radical statement' by Nikolaus Pevsner.

'We had a good dialogue with the architects but they weren't in a position to take things forward.

The client wasn't making decisions, not least because of the staff changes at the RSC, ' she added.

Croft warned if the client tried to demolish the theatre the project would almost certainly go to public inquiry and 'slow down their timetable even more'.

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