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Viñoly's Curve theatre 'not value for money' says commission

The Audit Commission has lambasted Rafael Viñoly’s over-budget Curve theatre project in Leicester for failing to provide good value for money

Work on the planning the project began in 2000, with Rafael Viñoly appointed as architect in 2002. The original budget was set at £26 million, but costs more than doubled to £61 million and it opened in 2008 – two years behind schedule.

The Audit Commission criticised the lack of finalised detailed design before the start of construction, which it said resulted in the escalating price (the full report is attached right).

Richard Watson, director of cultural services at Leicester City Council said: ‘The audit noted that Curve was completed over budget and behind schedule. As a result the audit Commission were unable to conclude that the Council’s arrangements ensured value for money.

‘The report makes a number of recommendations about the future management of projects, which will help us to ensure lessons have been learnt for future projects.’

Following the release of the report Ruth Eastwood, chief executive of the Curve theatre, stepped down after three years in charge.

Readers' comments (4)

  • So there was no design freeze prior to the contractor becoming involved, and costs overran . . . now there's a surprise . . .

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  • It beats me how Vinoly has got so far. His inability to design buildings and to deliver them on time and on budget seems to be no obstacle to his meteoric rise to "Archistar" status. He must have people recommending him to ingenuous clients who don't know anything about architecture and who listen to these "Archifixers".

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  • ...and the original cost estimate, prepared by a QS, before a brief was prepared and a designer commissioned. The decision to go ahead was based on a traditional theatre and the original budget. Then an international selection process concluded that the selected architect was the only one capable of fully interpreting the Council's innovative brief!

    Sounds like they needed some help perhaps from a CABE enabler, RIBA client design advisor?

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  • feriHa  ozTURK

    I was reading this article and i think this is very unreturned act of spending money..because i know many projects which has very big capacity..for example Music Auditorium in Rome composed of three separate halls of 2800, 1200 and 750 in capacity. Positioned around an open-air amphitheatre, the halls look like three enormous “music boxes”, whose colours and materials recall those of the domes dotting the urban landscape of Rome. The interiors are entirely made of cherry wood, most suited to the acoustic challenges....and it costs 140 million euro..but if you compare with this project something is wrong for this building costs(capcity is not more than 1000 and it is just 1 building and the value is £61 million..

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