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Gallery light tower proves too modern for Edinburgh


An art gallery by Richard Murphy Architects has had a 12m-high multi- coloured light tower turned down by planning chiefs for being too modern.

The proposed 2.4m-wide tower with glass fin (below) was to go on the south elevation of Edinburgh's Fruitmarket Gallery. Artist Peter Fink, who consulted with the architects, wanted to use iridium lights for a pink, yellow and pale-blue finish.

But planners killed off the idea last week because it was out of character with the traditional surroundings. 'It would not blend in and would be a modern intrusion which would jar with existing buildings,' said the Scottish Office at appeal. It went to a hearing after Historic Scotland objected to council planners who had backed it.

The Scottish Office, however, gave the nod for a bright interactive pavement outside the gallery, containing 15 rows of 45 led red and green light blocks.

'The work is just too modern for Edinburgh,' said museum director Graeme Murray. 'The valuation exposes the lack of consideration for modernism. Yet we have been very careful about the aesthetic assimilation of this historic site.'

rhwl's Four Seasons Hotel for Canary Wharf (right) was topped out last week by Lord Falconer, the appointed shareholder of the New Millennium Experience. The 10-storey, 139-room, five-star hotel - originally to have been designed by Philippe Starck - features a curved patinated copper roof and is to be fitted out by United Designers. The scheme is a part of the 2.3ha development of the first phase of Canary Riverside, expected to be complete this autumn. It includes four residential buildings by Koetter Kim comprising 322 luxury apartments, of which 30 per cent are now sold - including three reservations at the topping-out ceremony. Shareholders of the Canary Wharf Group are reported to be looking at flotation this spring to fund the final two thirds of the entire 35ha Canary Wharf project. The montage (above left) shows Foster and Partners' hsbc tower nestling next to the main tower, and the eye-shaped-plan building to the right is the first of a series of buildings for Heron Quays, by an unnamed architect.

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