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'Plagiarised' scheme makes it to RA's Summer Exhibition

A scheme at the centre of a high-profile plagiarism row has made it into the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition after the hanging committee failed to recognise it.

The large acrylic painting of Gareth Pearce's Docklands Town Hall - the scheme he claimed Rem Koolhaas copied as the basis for the Kunstaal art gallery, Rotterdam - forms part of this year's architecture display. Pearce lost an eight-year legal battle last December to Koolhaas, who is now attempting to recover his £500,000 costs (AJ 24.1.02).

Despite the high-profile nature of the case, the hanging committee of Will Alsop, Lord Foster and Michael Manser failed to recognise the controversial submission.

Alsop told the AJ that the piece would have been rejected if its history had been known, but said its addition now added a 'frisson' to the show.

Alsop said the painting had been chosen more for the quality of the rendering than the architecture, the style of which, he said, was similar to that used by Koolhaas' practice OMA at the time Pearce worked there in the 1980s. 'What it shows is the debt he owes to OMA for copying its presentation style, ' Alsop said. 'What it shows is what a rip-off Pearce is, rather than the other way round.'

Pearce said he believed the work had been judged on its merits, and had been given the recognition and credibility it 'rightly and justly' deserved. He added that new evidence had come to light which could form the basis of an appeal against the legal decision.

The show, which opens this week, includes a range of drawings, photographs, paintings and architectural models displayed at eye height to allow visitors to enter their 'Lilliputian worlds'.

Among the 100 works on show are photographs of Eva Jiricna's penthouse flat at Canary Riverside in London, a model for two bridges by Birds Portchmouth Russum Architects, drawings by Quinlan Terry and a model of a competition entry by Richard Rogers Partnership for a tower in Madrid. Also included is a cartoon by the AJ's Louis Hellman, and a Ben Johnson painting of the British Museum Great Court, on sale for £31,725.

Young practice m 3architects is represented with its tri-tower, an alternative scheme for Spitalfields.

The Bovis Lend Lease/Architects' Journal sponsored award for the best architectural submission will be announced on 10 July.

Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas is in the running for the prestigious Charles Wollaston Award for the 'most distinguished work' in the show, with his model Italian Congress Centre, Rome IV. Lord Foster is on the panel of judges for the £25,000 prize, and the winner will be announced at the end of the month. Other shortlisted artists include Gillian Ayres, Basil Beattie, Alan Charlton, Nigel Hall, Yvonne Spektor and Frank Stella. Fuksas will be delivering the RA's annual architecture lecture on 22 June, entitled 'From Concept to Realisation'.

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