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Green light for Caspar replacement

Architecture 2B’s replacement for Levitt Bernstein’s doomed CASPAR apartment scheme in Leeds has won the go-ahead.

The original prefab housing development, completed in 2000, was evacuated two years ago after the discovery of ‘potentially catastrophic structural problems’.

The new £10 million scheme, which mirrors the semi-circular shape of the existing block, has been significantly redesigned since it was unveiled in April (AJ 05.04.07).

A drop in height from 11 to eight storeys has reduced the number of flats from 187 to 142, and the ‘floating roof’ has been replaced with a stepped terrace.

Speaking about the how the new building had to be rejigged after discussions with the local authority, councillors and nearby residents, practice founder Nick Brown said: ‘While [developer] Life Property Group and ourselves are pleased with the resulting building, there will naturally always be a small part of us that asks, “What if?”.’

Levitt Bernstein’s original 46-home building was hailed as a ‘pioneering’ exemplar of affordable housing when first built (AJ 10.08.00), but has been empty since being evacuated after high winds in 2005.

An investigation by Arup revealed an ‘identifiable chance‘ that the £3 million, timber-framed building could collapse in strong winds, which meant none of the tenants were ever allowed back into the Kajima-built flats.

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