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Architecture chiefs salute MoD's good-design guide

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Architecture chiefs have welcomed the Ministry of Defence's lead in writing a good-design guide and announcing building excellence award winners. The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment said the MoD guide, the first from a Westminster department after the government's call for better design last year, was an excellent commitment to architecture.

Better Defence Buildings highlights new MoD architecture and includes projects by HOK International, Percy Thomas Partnership and Abbey Holford Rowe.

CABE chief executive Jon Rouse said: 'The armed forces of the 21st century need to operate out of the best 21st-century buildings. Good design has functional, as well as financial, benefits.

Better-quality housing for troops will make them more productive and longer serving.'

There are sections on planning, context, supply chains and delivery systems. Key factors highlighted are: unobtrusive links between old and new;

scale, height and massing considerations; and providing modern infrastructure. In the guide's foreword, defence secretary Geoff Hoon said: 'Our aim is to deliver good design, not some unnecessary piece of decoration fixed on to buildings as an afterthought. Good design is good business.'

Meanwhile, Defence Estates, which produced the guide, spoke of closer partnership with construction and CABE. 'Architects are crucial in the procurement of good buildings, ' it said.

The MoD also announced winners of the Percy Thomas Excellence Awards: FaulknerBrowns' physical training centre in Aldershot won an award for procurement; Boon Brown Partnership's Broadsword Park Housing in Ilchester, Somerset was highly commended for design and facilities management; and an equipment building by CDH Pottinger at the Army School of Aviation in Middle Wallop, Hampshire, was highly commended for good procurement.

Percy Thomas Partnership chief executive John Rudge said: 'Output across the MoD was patchy in design, business and usage terms. We wanted to sponsor an award to bring the government and private sector closer together.'

The MoD guide can be obtained on its website at www. mod. uk or tel 0121 311 3705.

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