The rationale which Gormley and others have probably failed to take into account is the impact of 7 additional towers proposed for the Shell site reaching up to 127m, currently the subject of a planning inquiry. The Royal Festival Hall and Festival wing are in danger of being dwarfed by these towers. The proposed glazed additions will give the arts complex some sort of presence in the view which it would otherwise lack. As a fan of the form of the Festival buildings but a critic of some of the functional shortcomings and appalling land use at ground (car parks, slip roads, undercrofts) I think the architects have produced a great proposal, precisely the sort of solution we were advocating a decade ago (we produced an alternative masterplan in 2001, some of whose elements FCBS appear to have borrowed), but were ignored at the time... (Motto: the community is always ahead of the game) Michael Ball, Waterloo Community Development Group
Comment on: Zaha Hadid wins Stirling Prize at fourth attempt
The overhang (pictured) over the front is remarkably like Pimlico School - which was demolished this summer by the barbarians (politicians) including Sir Simon Milton (then Westminster Council, now Boris' deputy Mayor for Planning!!!), Jack Straw (former Chair of Governors who cooked up the demolition), and Lord McIntosh (who ignored EH advice to list). But no matter: Zaha's new school in Shakespeare Rd (Brixton) is almost complete and is a worthy successor to Pimlico. Ha ha, Zaha...
Comment on: Judge throws out Doon Street tower challenge
There's still a long way to go before this monstrosity may be unleashed on London. Firstly a local Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB)resident - who was part of the initial action along with EH and WCC - is progressing his appeal, for which leave has been granted by the High Court; so hopefully the Court of Appeal will sling Blears' disgracefully partisan decision in the bin. Secondly there are covenants protecting the site from commercial development which were put in place when this site plus 6 others were sold to CSCB for £0.75m. These covenants have a financial clawback mechanism on any profits the development stands to make - which according to CSCB's own figures which they were forced to release at the public inquiry are projected at £31m (yet they are a "not for profit" organisation...). Thirdly on CSCB's own figures the scheme was unviable in 2007 - which formed part fo EH's case - and requried a £23m subsidy, which is more than the cost of the swimming pool! With raw material costs still rising but property prices stalling at best, this is getting more unviable by the month. In short this development will not be able to go ahead in the forseeable future. Which begs the question why the developers have pursued it for the past 9 years?