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Architects come out in support of Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' Doon Street tower

A host of leading architects has come out in support of Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ (LDS’) Doon Street tower for London’s South Bank.

Richard Rogers, Terry Farrell, Michael Manser, Marks Barfield, Rafael Viñoly, Marco Goldschmied and Paul Hyett have all written letters to the planning inspectorate backing the scheme, which is currently the subject of a planning inquiry.

Lambeth Council gave the tower the thumbs-up last August, but objections from English Heritage (EH) and Westminster Council, particularly over its impact on views from Somerset House, led to it being called in by Communities Secretary Hazel Blears.

Rogers said: ‘The design seems to me very appropriate both to the site and the wider context… The most serious objection
seems to concern the effect of the proposal on the entrance of Somerset House from the Strand, which I cannot agree with.’

Manser said: ‘As a creative and intelligent response to a clear brief and an unprepossessing location, this development proposal is hard to fault’.

Goldschmied dismissed EH’s concerns, claiming that picking it out over the rooftop of Somerset House ‘involves deliberately, almost perversely, ignoring the inner court and searching skywards for a distraction’.

LDS partner Alex Lifschutz said the most important thing is that the inquiry is the first test of the Mayor of London’s new View Management Framework.

He said: ‘It throws up major issues of how places like Lambeth can progress in the light of the framework, and objections from other London boroughs.’

EH said: ‘It is notable that CABE also objected because of the tower’s impact on Somerset House. The architects Gordon Forbes, Anthony Collins and Brian Perry, who worked on the National Theatre, also objected.’

The inquiry, which is being held at Lambeth Town Hall, concludes on 7 March. Blears
is expected to make her decision in the summer.

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