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Avery to give Commonwealth Institute a massive overhaul

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Avery Associates is understood to have won a competition for a massive overhaul of London's Commonwealth Institute - which has seen past designs by Jasper Jacobs and Allies and Morrison bite the dust.

The practice, which enjoyed the limelight recently for its imax cinema, is believed to have won a competitive interview between four firms for design work to rmjm's 1962 building. The job is thought to be a refurbishment of the entire Kensington High Street block with a hyperboloid Zambian copper roof rising to a peak.

Avery Associates would only say it was 'possibly' involved in a design. 'I have told them I won't say anything until they give me the word,' said architect Brian Avery.

Ken Feakes, consultant architect at rmjm, said: 'The institute had been looking to do a refurbishment for around three years. The building has dated and it has to have another life. It won't do it any harm to have someone like Avery Associates work on it. We don't get so precious we feel our buildings can't be refined.'

The building's future has been a long-running architectural saga. In 1995 Jasper Jacobs unveiled a £14 million scheme to refurbish the centre, including new exhibition spaces and multi-media centre. It was barracked for being Disneyesque. An earlier proposal by Allies and Morrison which aimed to reclad the leaking roof also failed to leave the drawing board.

Officials at the Commonwealth Institute were unavailable for comment.

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