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CABE shows support for HOK's Royal London PFI

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CABE has formally agreed to throw its weight behind HOK's highly controversial proposals for the Royal London PFI hospital in Whitechapel.

The design watchdog was heavily critical of the project's original planning application but has now changed its mind following a comprehensive redesign.

In a report drawn up following the latest review of the project by the Design Review Panel, CABE makes it clear that it is now largely happy with the scheme.

'We note that the more time and effort that has been directed to the design, the better the project has become,' the report says.

'It is to the credit of all involved that work on refining the design of the public realm, ground floor and elevations of the proposed hospital has continued despite the planning application already having been submitted.

'We applaud the continuing design analysis and the further evolution of the scheme. The latest revisions represent a significant improvement in what we have seen before.

'The reconsideration of the design of the public realm and the atrium, which we previously supported, combined with the latest variations to the modelling of the upper parts of the building and the elevations have, in our view, transformed this project from its original, unacceptable proposition to one that we are now willing to support,' it goes on.

'Finally, we appreciate the trust's positive approach to our criticisms and we acknowledge that the architects have made changes where possible.

'We are now optimistic that a major new civic space for east London can be designed and delivered to the highest standards,' it adds.

by Ed Dorrell

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