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CABE: waste and power plant designs are a ‘sea of mediocrity’

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Heatherwick Studio’s £150 million BEI-Teesside power station, which received planning approval this week, stands out in a ‘sea of mediocrity’, says CABE

Waste and energy plant contractors and designers were criticised for not grasping the importance of good design.

Thomas Bender, CABE design review advisor said: ‘Far too few energy and infrastructure schemes that CABE reviews really raise the bar.

‘Waste management facilities should be celebrated as pioneering industrial buildings with huge potential for civic presence and offering a fascinating opportunity to make visitors understand the benefits of a sustainable lifestyle.’

The biomass-fuelled power station will produce energy for 50,000 homes and reduce carbon emissions by up to 80 per cent, according to developer Bio Energy Investments.

Indigenous grasses cover the exterior of designer Thomas Heatherwick’s volcano-shaped structure, with two-thirds of the 6ha site landscaped for ecology.

Heatherwick said: ‘With more power stations being built at a local level, we need to find new ways to incorporate these buildings into our lives and make them of benefit to society.’

One of the schemes CABE has been particularly critical of is an energy recovery facility in Bradford by BioGen Power which, it said, ‘neither showed any ambition nor the necessary thought for its context’ and was more ‘akin to an out-of-town retail shed’.

An energy-from-waste plant in Oxfordshire by Architecture & Planning Solutions was also slammed.

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