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... as commissioners give green light to capital projects

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CABE last week gave the thumbs-up to schemes by Foster and Partners,Alsop and Stormer,and MacCormac Jamieson Prichard.But it has brand-ed a new office building proposed by Pringle Richards Sharratt for Chancery Lane in London as 'too assertive'and an overdevelopment of the site.

CABE 's design review committee met on 10 November and reported that Foster and Partners' revised mixed-use scheme for Albion Wharfin London,featuring a 12-storey main building with an asymmetrical crescent shape in plan is 'ofhigh quality'and an improvement on a version seen by the Royal Fine Art Commission in 1998.

'So little recent development along this stretch ofthe Thames has been ofany real quality that this will be a breath offresh air,'the panel said.But it had reservations about the 'second best'nature of the site for the affordable housing element.

The Alsop scheme is for a 13-storey,40,000m 2office building and ground-floor cafe featuring perforated screens ofpaint opposite the Southwark Jubilee Line Station on Blackfriars Road, which CABE wants to see built.It hopes the planners 'can find a way ofensuring that the promise of the scheme design is not watered down in the process ofrealisation'.

MacCormac Jamieson Prichard,meanwhile, has collaborated with West and Partners in a project to design an 18-storey 'apartment hotel' opposite Alsop's scheme and above MJP 's Southwalk Jubilee Line Station.Although CABE supports the 'landmark'building proposed,it feels that two new storeys over the station entrance detract from it rather than enhance it and that the roofline 'lacks interest'.

It also strongly supports a mixed-use scheme drawn up by Carey Jones for a site near the Royal Armouries in Leeds,although it feels elements could prove hostile to pedestrians and motorists, and that the design team could be enlarged to bring in other designers - as with Birmingham's Brindleyplace.

But CABE attacked the PRS scheme,a seven storey office building on the corner ofChancery Lane and High Holborn,as too assertive despite showing promise.It said the relation between it and eighteenth-century Stone Buildings adjacent to Lincoln's Inn Fields 'seems tense and unresolved in plan and in elevation.'

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