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MacCormac set for dramatic return to BBC Broadcasting House

Richard MacCormac has entered into secret high-level talks which could see him make a dramatic return to the BBC's huge Broadcasting House scheme, the AJ can reveal.

The architect, who was sacked from Phase II of the important central-London scheme at the end of last year, could be set to reemerge as an influential figure on the project.

The move would represent an extraordinary thawing of the relationship between BBC bosses and MacCormac Jamieson Prichard (MJP).

They have had an extremely strained relationship since the corporation and its contractor Bovis Lend Lease announced that MJP would no longer be required on the second phase of its scheme.

The details of any deal that would resecure MacCormac's services, and especially how he would work with the project's new architect Sheppard Robson, are unclear.

But one observer, speaking at the MIPIM property fair last week, suggested that MacCormac might become contracted to the BBC to oversee his designs, while Sheppard Robson would work in its current novated capacity for Bovis.

It is understood that the move to bring the MJP boss back on-board has been launched because a number

of senior cultural figures were disgusted by the way the corporation treated both MacCormac in London and David Chipperfield in Glasgow.

The surprise decision in November last year to dispense with MacCormac's services sent shock waves through both the broadcasting and architectural worlds.

The BBC was awarded the RIBA's 'Client of the Year' award in 2003, and its director John Smith had been awarded an Honorary Fellowship.

However, any agreement to bring MacCormac back in would also require the architect to be convinced that conditions on the project have improved.

Speaking about the problems between Bovis and MJP that culminated in the events of last November, artist Antoni Malinowski, who worked with MacCormac on the scheme, said: 'Richard was insisting on certain basic design elements that were at the core of the project.

'He said they should not be changed, otherwise there would be nothing of his scheme left,' Malinowski added.

by Ed Dorrell

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