The property tycoon brought in to run the South Bank Centre is fighting with grim determination to save Lord Rogers' scheme, including the glass roof.
Elliott Bernerd, the new chairman, said: 'I didn't accept this job just to scrap the project.'
Richard Rogers is a 'dear friend, and I am emotionally and aesthetically committed to his project.'
Bernerd, who runs Chelsfield, took over at the South Bank from Sir Brian Corby two weeks ago.
'My main concern is to take a realistic view of what we can afford. Whatever we do, we will try to keep the maximum integrity in what we are trying to achieve.'
He did not rule out scaling down the scheme to trim costs. But: 'We're not a third-world country - we should provide proper facilities, ' he told the Daily Telegraph.