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OMA to overhaul Commonwealth Institute

Rem Koolhaas’ Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) has won the high-profile contest to revamp and redevelop the Grade II*-listed Commonwealth Institute in Holland Park, west London.

The design team, which will be led by project architect Reinier de Graaf, saw off Rafael Moneo, Rafael Viñoly Architects, Eric Parry Associates, Caruso St John, and Make to land the job.

The decision, by site owner Ilchester Estate and developer Chelsfield Partners, follows years of speculation about the future of the 1962 RMJM building – including government attempts to have its famous ‘tent roof’ de-listed.

Koolhaas said: ‘[We are] excited by the prospect of collaboration on the building and intent on taking a respectful approach to developing the '60s icon.

‘OMA will explore a number of uses appropriate to the existing design, capitalising on the building's dynamic interior spaces.'

He added: ‘Careful consideration will be given to the relationship with Holland Park, possibly extending the park across part of the site, removing the walls between the site and Holland Park and constructing a number of residential buildings.’

The practice will now develop its initial concept proposals for the building, which has been empty since 1995, and a planning application is expected to be submitted at the end of the year.

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