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Bishop slams 'trophy architecture' phenomenon

Peter Bishop, the new director of the Greater London Authority's Design for London unit, has said he will no longer tolerate what has become known as 'trophy architecture'.

'Trophy architecture' occurs when a developer employs a high-profile firm up to the stage of winning planning permission and then replaces the office in favour of a cheaper option.

Speaking at the AJ100 Breakfast Club last week, Bishop said killing off trophy architecture would be one of his first moves in his new role. The ex-director of planning at Camden Council said he would instruct the London Development Agency (LDA) and Transport for London (TfL) to ban the practice.

Both of the vast quangos commission and work on huge numbers of projects across the capital and are, as a result, hugely influential on the wider construction industry.

'Design for London will sign off everything that the LDA does,' he said. 'From now on the LDA will not countenance a good architect being brought in to win planning and then being replaced with some jobbing architect.

'We really want to embed architecture and good design into everything that the LDA does. I will make sure that the same policy counts for TfL as well,' he added.

Unsurprisingly, Bishop's comments were also welcomed by RIBA president Jack Pringle, who said it was a major step in the right direction.

'I have not heard about this happening before so this move is very welcome - it underlines a commitment to good design,' Pringle said.

by Ed Dorrell

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