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. . . and plans a stylish refurb for its London HQ

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The arb has ended a 10-year guessing game on whether to stay or leave its London headquarters by announcing plans for refurbishment by a 'suitable young small practice'.

The design work to 73 Hallam Street will be 'modest and cosmetic', says the board. Walls will remain intact, there will be no extravagant fixtures and fittings, and staff will remain in the one-storey, 4000m2 building while work goes ahead.

The board will interview up to four young practices and commission one. It aims to choose an architect around April and start work later this year. Richard Coleman, arb assistant registrar, said it was too early to say if it would be an invited or open competition. 'Board members may come up with names who will come round to have a look and make proposals,' he said. 'We are still on our starting blocks and have not costed the work. Keeping staff in the building will restrict the extent of refurbishment. The priority is to install trunking for a new it system.'

The arb inherited the building from Arcuk in 1997, but it has slowly deteriorated because a firm commitment to stay has never been made and so improvements have been put off.

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