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Buckley Gray Yeoman replaces Gaunt Francis at St Katharine's Dock

Buckley Gray Yeoman (BGY) has been brought in by St Katharine’s Dock’s new owners, the Max Property Group, to take on the office-led refubishment of London’s only marina

A controversial earlier scheme (pictured) for the well-known docks next to Tower Bridge by Gaunt Francis Architects (GFA) was turned down on appeal having been heavily criticised by CABE on four separate occasions (see below).

Following the sale of the docks by AREA Property Partners and F&C REIT Asset Management in June, the new owners have appointed BGY to work on the renovation of Commodity Quay while architect Morey Smith has been asked to overhaul International House, which will see the main reception and 2,800m² of office space refurbished.

Paul White from BGY said: Our work at Commodity Quay provides a unique opportunity to work on 12,077m² of office space, in what is a prime location adjacent to a World Heritage Site. When finished the building will provide a beautiful place to work in a stunning marina setting.”

Speaking about Gaunt Francis Architects’s scrapped scheme, practice co-founder Alan Francis added: ‘Although our client’s proposals did not succeed at appeal, the Inspector did praise the very high quality of the architecture, which gave us some comfort. However, the site has now been sold on by our clients, and whilst we would have liked to have remained involved, its no surprise that a new team is on board.’

Previous story (AJ 01.05.2009)

CABE slates St Katharine Dock scheme for a fourth time

CABE has slated the latest redesign of Gaunt Francis Architects’ (GFA) St Katharine Dock’s scheme in East London

Once again the scheme has failed to win the backing of the design review body, which said that, while ‘broadly supportive of the overall aims of the proposal’, it had not changed its views of the scheme, despite additional information being provided.

‘We are not yet convinced that the overall public realm strategy has been resolved. Overall, in keeping with the robust character of the dock itself, we would suggest that a simpler approach is taken.’

It is the fourth negative review the £120 million scheme has received. In March 2006, the original proposal was labelled ‘muddled’ and a substantial redesign was carried out. The scheme’s landmark 17-storey elliptical tower was remodelled after CABE labelled elements ‘awkward and unstable’.

Read the review here.

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