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Trellick Tower clocks up third try

McAslan + Partners has had to resubmit its refurbishment plans for Ernö Goldfinger's famous Trellick Tower, in west London, for the third time, due to continued pressure from residents and the Twentieth Century Society (C20).

The resubmission comes in the wake of complaints regarding the quality of samples provided by the architect during a consultation with residents, the quality of drawings provided, and the detailing and installation method of new windows.

The residents' and society's objections came to light in March (AJ 10.3.05) after it emerged that the architect intended to replace all 800 of the Grade II*-listed building's distinctive windows.

Plans were resubmitted by the architect for a second time in May, to address some of the concerns. But in a letter late last week to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, C20 argued that the architect's work was still not up to scratch. In the wake of this correspondence, the application has since been resubmitted a third time.

In the letter, dated 24 May, C20 caseworker Cordula Zeidler writes: 'The society would like to object to the application as it stands. We are not convinced that the applicants have given sufficient evidence to justify so great an intervention, and the proposed new windows differ from the original windows to an extent the society finds unacceptable.' Zeidler went on to criticise the quality of sample windows that were provided by the architect during a public consultation, which she claimed were of limited use as 'they were not fitted and were not produced 1:1'.

The architect's elevations are also criticised for their 'lack of fine detailing' and Zeidler refutes claims by McAslan + Partners that a comprehensive refurbishment of the tower is necessary because of the high costs of scaffolding the entire building. The society concurs with residents' claims that a suspended cradle could be used to carry out the work instead.

Project architect Kevin Murphy hit back at C20's complaints regarding the quality of sample windows, stating that 'the windows had to be scaled down slightly in order to fit through the door'.

He continued: 'The decision to resubmit was taken with the entire design team and it's a decision we've taken unilaterally in order to make progress on the application.'

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