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Harsh headline for site that promises so much


That a conservation society does not like a 16-storey building is hardly a news story (AJ 23.1.03);

that it should call it an 'ego trip' is too pathetic a cliché to merit print space. Nor is it surprising that any architect would be concerned that their scheme be turned down, as going to appeal is heavily time-consuming.

There is, however, zero evidence that Brighton & Hove council is anti-modern developments in the city. For instance, the council's own Jubilee Library Complex (Bennetts Associates and Cassidy, Lomax Edwards Architects) and its brief for the King Alfred site are expressly contemporary. Indeed, the existing permission for this site, which incidentally is not in a conservation area, is thoroughly Modernist (and not 'much smaller' but for the same number of flats).

Preston Park is surrounded by mid-rise flats and office blocks. Our tower is at the confluence of roads at the south end of the park and marks the entry into urban Brighton at the point where the road from London swings suddenly away up Stanford Gardens.

As a composition, it is set against the horizontal sweep of the railway viaduct, which originally stood in open field but is now, of course, part of an urban townscape surrounded by buildings.

Celebratory housing is Brighton & Hove's raison d'être and contributes most of its fabulous townscape. A glamorous mid-rise tower at this location seems an utterly appropriate contribution to the new city's reinvigoration.

This is probably why in the council's press release welcoming the application, the deputy chair of environment is quoted saying:

'The Endeavour site is a prime spot for a landmark building and we want to encourage first-class quality and ground-breaking designs for such sites. We need quality architecture to regenerate the city, improve the environment for residents and add to the unique heritage we already have.'

And why, hopefully sometime in the future, you will have to retract your injudicious headline.

Piers Gough, partner, CZWG Architects

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