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The Skylon's the limit: return of South Bank icon put on hold

Plans to resurrect Powell and Moya's much-loved Skylon on London's South Bank have hit the buffers.

After years of behind-the-scene discussions and false dawns, it has emerged that proposals to rebuild the 1950s cigar-shaped landmark close to its original home are now 'unlikely to go-ahead'.

According to RIBA president Jack Pringle, a former Powell and Moya employee who has been masterminding the project, it has become increasingly difficult to press on with his dream of rebuilding the icon.

Speaking shortly after the Stirling Prize announcement, he said: 'It is very hard to progress with Skylon, what with everything that is going on down on the South Bank.'

It certainly appears landscape architect West 8 has no plans to incorporate the tall, metal structure into its competition-winning scheme for the Jubilee Gardens site (AJ 12.05.05).

And a source close to the redevelopment project has also raised doubts about the viability of bringing the Festival of Britain centrepiece back to life. He said: 'It is exceptionally unlikely that Skylon will find a home back on the South Bank.'

However, south London's loss could be somebody else's gain. Pringle, whose practice Pringle Brandon holds all of Powell and Moya's original drawings, admits the Skylon could end up on another site. He said: 'I have been approached by other parties to take it elsewhere - but I can't say where.'

by Richard Waite

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