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DMFK wins backing for controversial Thierry Henry home

DMFK Architects’ has won planning approval for a contentious proposal to flatten and replace a 13-year-old house designed by MJP founder Richard MacCormac

The AJ/Corus 40 Under 40 starlets netted conditional approval for the new house in Hampstead, north London for ex-Arsenal footballer Thierry Henry, at a committee meeting last night (10 May).

The scheme, which features a massive fish tank, has come in for criticism from Twentieth Century Society, the Heath and Hampstead Society and Shirley Valentine actor Tom Conti, who lives nearby.

The Twentieth Century Society said: ‘[The existing building] represents a crucial part of the oeuvre of an outstanding firm of the late Twentieth Century’.

Meanwhile the Heath and Hampstead Society added: ‘It was designed by a very distinguished architect, ex-president of RIBA, whose reputation is high. The [proposed] design has no style or elegance’.

The controversial scheme will demolish the existing house, built in 1999, and replace it with a three-storey property featuring a 40ft fish tank, a swimming pool, bar and cinema.

In a statement supporting its planning application, DMFK said: ‘It [the existing house] won no awards and is not presented or acknowledged as a significant work.’

The planning officers’ report states ‘ The [existing MacCormac] building is not identified as making a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the CA in the CA statement 2003. Specifically, the Conservation Area Statement states: “No. 17 is a recent modern addition to the Avenue. Partly rendered and partly brick, this house designed by Richard MacCormac is largely screened from the road.”

“While Richard MacCormac has dealt with a large range of building types and forms, luxury housing is not a key part of his oeuvre, and the house can be considered to make a minor contribution to his canon.”

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