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Cracks problem a storm in a glass teacup, says designer

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The fuss over cracked glass in the new National Glass Centre has been overblown, according to its designer, Gollifer Associates.

National newspapers reported last week that dozens of cracks had splintered the armour-plate glass. But Andy Gollifer said: 'There are hundreds of panels in the roof and two have cracks. We have to check it out, which is being done by Ove Arup & Partners.

'I can't comment until it has made its findings, but don't believe everything you read in the newspapers.'

Staff at the Sunderland centre are reported to be looking at possible vandalism, although the roof is still open. Children have been seen skateboarding on the 40mm-thick roof, designed to take 30,000 people, and a sniper shattered one of its conference room windows last week with an air rifle.

The centre, next to the River Wear, was opened in June and contains workshops, a gallery and a viewing platform.

Construction begins in October of this social housing designed for the Regent's Park Estate, North London, by Wright & Wright. On a brownfield site it is high-density (500 habitable rooms per ha), has limited parking, and has private individual gardens to all dwellings. It also provides housing for large families, which is in scant supply. The architect has achieved this by filling the site with a three-storey stepped terrace. On the ground floor are four one-bedroom flats for the wheelchair disabled, each with a walled courtyard garden. Above are four four-bedroom, eight- person family houses with roof gardens. The gardens can be interconnected if the residents wish.

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