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Cheaper digs

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Assorted journalists and critics assembled at the new Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment offices in St James's Square this week. If the address sounds familiar, it is because it was formerly occupied by the now dissolved Royal Fine Art Commission. But the new body, chaired by development supremo Stuart Lipton, has no intention of remaining in the £350,000 pa offices, reckoning it can save up to half of this sum by moving somewhere cheaper, and no doubt open-plan, along the lines of the Design Council. There was some sympathy among commissioners for the idea of stripping the existing building back to the original Lutyens and doing a contemporary refit, but given the high rent this was ruled out. The Department of Culture will take back the lease when CABE moves out, and the search is now on for up to 500 sq metres of space somewhere in central London. Any offers?

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