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MacCormac ponders BBC rerun

Talks on whether Richard MacCormac will make an unlikely return to the BBC Broadcasting House project he was controversially sacked from at the end of last year are set to be concluded in the next month.

Sources close to the negotiations have told the AJ that the MacCormac Jamieson Prichard (MJP) founding partner is 'seriously considering' returning as a consultant for the BBC on Phase II of the scheme ( newsroom pictured above).

The talks, which have been simmering for most of this year, have almost collapsed on a number of occasions.

The architect has already put in a largely unsuccessful Freedom of Information request in a bid to discover details about his sacking from the scheme (

MacCormac tries to find out details of BBC sacking).

A resolution to the dispute would be an extraordinary thawing for the different parties, who fell out in the months after Bovis, to which MacCormac was novated, decided to dispense with his services.

However, MacCormac's renewed involvement could trigger more problems for the BBC, which won the RIBA Client of the Year Award three years ago.

It is understood that Sheppard Robson, which was brought in by Bovis to replace MacCormac, has let it be known that it 'has no interest in working with a third party' on the project.

It is unclear how BBC bosses would resolve this potential stumbling block.

The months since Bovis dropped MacCormac have been very difficult for MJP, as it has lost a host of staff and more than half of its directors.

However, MacCormac is keen to regain influence on the project, which he considers to be one of the most important ones undertaken by his practice.

The move to bring the MJP boss back on board is understood to have been made because senior cultural figures were disgusted by the way the BBC had treated both MacCormac in London and David Chipperfield in Scotland.

Chipperfield was appointed but later replaced on BBC Scotland's headquarters scheme in Glasgow.

His involvement with the scheme became more and more tenuous after the BBC brought in Keppie Design to work alongside him.

If MacCormac does return to the Broadcasting House development, the BBC will have to be very careful not to repeat its experiences north of the border and further undermine its already tarnished reputation as an architectural client.

by Ed Dorrell

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