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2003: the shape of things to come

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What does the future hold? The Architects' Journal peers into its crystal ball and predicts the most talked about buildings, key issues and major battlegrounds for the architectural profession in the year ahead. By Zoë Blackler Tall buildings will continue to attract controversy in 2003, with a public inquiry into Renzo Piano's 66-storey London Bridge Tower - aka 'Shard of Glass'- scheduled to begin on 15 April.

CABE will come out in support of the £350 million project with English Heritage opposed, in a rerun of the Heron Tower Inquiry which culminated last year in a victory for KPF. The two organisations will nevertheless continue their strategic alliance in the development of further guidance on tall buildings within the city cluster.

The fate of Grimshaw's 43-storey Minerva Tower, due to go before City of London planners in the next few months, looks rosier. Though no fan of the scheme, EH has decided not to push for a call in if, as expected, the City gives it the green light (see page 10).

Other tall buildings in London expected to work their way through the planning system this year include a City scheme by Helmut Jahn for German developer DIFA, towers by Richard Rogers Partnership in the City and at Canary Wharf, and a residential scheme by Broadway Malyan in Vauxhall.

Other planning battles still to be resolved include Chapman Taylor's York Coppergate, which awaits a decision from the secretary of state expected in the spring, and the battle over London's Bishopsgate Viaduct, which rumbles on.

Owen Luder steps down as chairman in March during elections that could see the appointment to the board of sole practitioner Ian Salisbury, standing on a curb-the-ARB ticket. Any retreat is unlikely from the monitoring, which continues to insist on regulating PII.

At its next board meeting it will be discussing how it should adapt to changes that are taking place within the profession, which could see a wholesale revision of the concept of 'architect'.

CABE will continue the expansion that began in 2002, taking on a further 20 staff and another floor in its Waterloo tower home.

The commission will be moving into new areas of responsibility, with the creation of CABE SPACE, which will see CABE taking on a championing role for the spaces inbetween buildings. A search for a director for the new unit begins this month, for an April start.

The commission will also be developing the work of its Education Foundation, which will be pushing for the inclusion of the built environment in the schools curriculum and for greater inter-professional training.

Health buildings will be high up on CABE's agenda this year, with big changes expected from within the Department of Health and NHS Estates.

Will Alsop, who won last year's largest competition, to design a Fourth Grace in Liverpool, will be drawing up detailed designs during the year, with a planning application expected in 2004.

Rick Mather's masterplan for the South Bank is proceeding with the revamp of the Royal Festival Hall and assurances that more will follow - details of which are due to be decided later this year.

One of the largest developments in the capital, the 20 year King's Cross overhaul, continues through consultation, while the Dome looks likely to come good - as long as developer Anschultz can avoid a US prison sentence.

In June, the DCMS will decide which of six competing cities will become the European Capital of Culture for 2008.Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Newcastle/Gateshead, Oxford and Liverpool are all in the running. It is estimated that the winner could benefit to the tune of £1 billion from extra tourism during its one-year reign.

The competition to redevelop NY's World Trade Center will reach a conclusion this year. The teams that have drawn up proposals are Foster and Partners (above), which emerged as the early favourite among architectural critics; Studio Daniel Libeskind; Skidmore Owings & Merrill; New York practice Peterson/Littenberg; Richard Meier and Partners; a team called United Architects (above right) that includes Foreign Office Architects; and another collaborative effort, THINK, led by Rafael Viñoly. The final solution could be a combination of elements from the various proposals.

Richard Rogers Partnership will find out if it is on a shortlist of two to see through construction of its design for the Welsh Assembly. After the bitterness and mudslinging between Lord Rogers and finance minister Edwina Hart, the practice would be a surprising choice. The Welsh Assembly promise the successful team will be finally chosen in the summer, with the project getting under way this autumn. And the winner of the AJ-backed IPPR Designs on Democracy Competition to reinvent the town hall will be decided later this month.


The Planning Bill, which promises a radical overhaul of the planning system, continues its progress through Parliament. The plans include an end to county councils as a power within the planning system and the creation of business planning zones where regulations will be relaxed.The government hopes to see it passed with royal assent by the summer recess in July.

Changes to the building regulations come into force this year - Part E on1 July, with amendments to Part B on 1 March, while consultation on the London Plan concludes.

Herzog & de Meuron's Laban Centre in south London is due to open in February, while Future Systems' Birmingham Selfridges is due for completion this September. The department store has promised that the defection of Vittorio Radice, the key personality behind Selfridges'makeover, will not scupper its ambitious building project, as Foster and Partners' revised scheme for Selfridges in Oxford Street awaits a decision from the planners. The practice will also complete its Swiss Re tower this year.

And Zaha Hadid will see the completion of her Cincinatti Contemporary Arts Centre.

Big moves ahead for the RIBA, as the institute uses the recent changes to its structure to prepare itself for a higher profile role. The institute will be advertising for a director for its newly created charity arm, the Foundation - a significant new post to oversee the drawings collection, exhibitions, conferences and other public events.Expect a big launch for the Foundation at the end of the year.

The second of the RIBA's annual lectures will take place in 2003, following last year's inaugural event, given by Jonathan Dimbleby.On 1 July, president Paul Hyett steps aside to make way for George Ferguson. Ferguson, known for his red trousers (and for his successful fight against Arup Associates'Bristol docks scheme) seized the election last year after rival Annette Fisher was condemned for seeking sponsorship.

The clever money will be on Foreign Office Architects'Yokohama Terminal to win the Stirling Prize in the autumn. However, Dominic Williams'Baltic in Gateshead and Foster and Partners'City Hall could also get a look in.

Afficionados are arguing for Ted Cullinan - who just failed to pick up the RIBA's top gong for his Downland Gridshell in 2002 - to get the Royal Gold Medal this year, but the institute's presentation to fellow Brits Archigram in 2002 could go against him.


The V&A will be holding a major exhibition on Art Deco between March and July. Sir John Soane 's Museum will be commemorating the 250th anniversary of its founder with a series of events celebrating his life and work. The Serpentine will be commissioning a Summer Pavilion again this year, following Toyo Ito's last summer. No clues yet as to who it might be, but an announcement is expected within the next few weeks.


2003 will provide a test of whether the changes in validation, agreed in principle between the RIBA and the ARB, will provide a lasting solution.Other key issues will be the White Paper on Higher Education, which will lay out alternative proposals for university funding and could have a major impact on architecture schools, while the RIBA is launching a new programme of work looking at how to improve university-based research.

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