The backers of the new Architecture Foundation building in south London have defended a sudden - and hugely contentious - move to bring Allies and Morrison in to oversee the completion of Zaha Hadid's scheme.
The Architecture Foundation itself, the developer Land Securities and the contractor Bovis Lend Lease have issued a joint statement insisting that Allies and Morrison will work with Hadid on the project( pictured
The move - which is described as bringing Allies and Morrison in to 'oversee the construction of the design'
- comes after confirmation that the building is going to cost more than double the original £2.25 million budget.
The project will be situated at the end of Bankside 123, a vast development in Southwark being designed by Allies and Morrison and built by Bovis.
In a 2004 deal, Land Securities agreed to pay for Bovis to build Hadid's competition-winning headquarters on its land as long as it could take it back after a 15-year lease.
Rumours have circulated that Land Securities has become increasingly worried about the direction of the scheme, which is expected to be put in for planning permission imminently.
But, in a joint statement, the three development partners vowed that Hadid would remain a consultant: 'They (Allies and Morrison) will be working in close consultation with Zaha Hadid Architects throughout the construction phase to ensure the successful completion of this exemplary design,' the statement said.
And Architecture Foundation director Rowan Moore, speaking exclusively to the AJ, also promised
that Zaha would retain an important design role working for Allies and Morrison.
'Zaha's position is that she legally has a 'compliance and monitoring role'- but it will
be more than that,' he said.
Moore added: 'When the subject was first discussed with Land Securities naturally all
the questions came up about whether this was acceptable to the design.
'I discussed it with all the foundation's trustees who are practising architects, people
like Nigel Coates, Amanda Levete and Will Alsop, and we decided that it would result in
a building as good as what would have been if it was Zaha on her own.
'Allies and Morrison is a very good practice and is very responsible. The last thing
it would want would be to be the architect that messed up a Zaha building.
'And Land Securities understands this too - it understands that it should not do a 'Zaha-lite' building.
'Subject to the budget, Zaha is the boss - she will draw up the critical details and make the decisions on any important design changes,' Moore added. by Ed Dorrell