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CABE demands 'elegance' from KPF’s One Crown Place

The government’s design watchdog has criticised the ‘over-articulated’ elevations on KPF’s One Crown Place scheme and called on the designers to make it more elegant

According to CABE, the controversial 24-storey project for a challenging City fringe site in Hackney, London has not yet achieved ‘elegance in design and proportions from all vantage points’.

The commission’s design review panel went onto say the proposed cross-bracing running down the middle of the western elevation appears ‘superfluous’ and ‘compromises the honest expression of the building’s structure.’

The design reviewers were also unconvinced by colours used on the eastern elevation of the 114m-tall office block, adding: ‘[It] feels applied rather than integral to the architecture’ .

The regulator has asked for a re-design aimed at achieving ‘a calmer, more ordered building form, particularly at its western end, which is visible from Finsbury Square.’

The full design review comments can be read here.

In response John Bushell, principal at KPF said: ‘We welcome CABE’s positive comments and are discussing this response, and those of the other consultees, with the Council.

‘We share CABE’s confidence that our scheme will succeed both architecturally and commercially on this significant site.’

CABE’s conclusion

The joint CABE/English Heritage Guidance on tall buildings states that a tall building should be of excellent design quality in its own right and should enhance the qualities of its immediate location and wider setting. Whilst we do not object to the principle of a building of height in this location, the architecture must be of the highest quality to achieve the quantum of development proposed for this site. In our view, this has not yet been demonstrated. However, we have confidence that the design team can address the points raised in this letter to achieve a building that more sensitively responds to the qualities of this special context.

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