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Financial compensation wraps up Rodwell incident

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Wronged Edinburgh architect Dennis Rodwell has accepted financial compensation from the rias, bringing to an end a dispute dating from his suspension by rias Council in September 1995 for five years for dishonourable conduct, a suspension which the rias itself has since agreed was wrong. Under a confidentiality agreement, neither side would disclose the size of the settlement, but it is thought to be considerably more than the £25,000 which Rodwell was offered last summer and dismissed as 'derisory'.

Rodwell is also seeking 'a sizeable sum of money' from Edinburgh council, where the complaint about housing-repair contracts that led to his suspension first arose. At the start of this affair, said Rodwell, 'I was in the process of concluding something with Edinburgh, but it was scuppered by the action of the rias'. The rias continued to maintain his guilt, despite exoneration by the riba and arcuk, the forerunner of the arb. Rodwell said there is 'no immediate conclusion in sight' of his negotiations with Edinburgh, and that it is possible that it will go to court.

He said that publicity about the rias climbdown, when it issued a statement last June, was 'not unhelpful' and reaching a settlement was pleasing from a personal point of view. However, he said, it was 'not of any help professionally in Scotland' and he believes that 'once confidence in you has been undermined it cannot be rebuilt'. He is therefore seeking work abroad. Rodwell has been in a financially perilous state since the suspension, and closed his practice last year.

riba president David Rock, who campaigned hard on Rodwell's account, said: 'I'm really pleased that Dennis and the rias have reached an agreement which repudiates the rias action against Rodwell and allows him to get on with the rest of his life.' He paid tribute to the 'many others who have also put themselves on the line, none more so than Jim Cuthbertson, in his pivotal position on rias and riba Councils'. Cuthbertson produced a report, commissioned by Rock, detailing the voting irregularities and other inconsistent events which led to Rodwell's suspension.

The rias declined to comment on the settlement, as it has done ever since it issued its statement in June.

Ruth Slavid

Hopkins to create a big Wellcome in central London

Michael Hopkins and Partners has won a competition to design new offices for the Wellcome Trust in central London.

The practice beat six other firms for the 'landmark' commission on the site of Babcock House on the corner of Gower Street and Euston Road. The 19,000m2 former mi5 building is being demolished and the new structure will be completed by 2002.

The charity's new building will continue to provide an entrance to Euston Square underground station, while the adjacent 1930s Wellcome Building will remain.

McLaughlin wins De La Warr bandstand competition

Niall McLaughlin Architect has won, by competitive interview, a 'tiny commission with huge prestige' to design a bandstand for Bexhill-on-Sea's De La Warr Pavilion. McLauglin will collaborate with local schoolchildren and the pavilion's education department on a suitable and popular design for the 40m2 £35,000 stand.

The 3.5m-high bandstand is to be funded by the De La Warr Pavilion trust, and should be finished next summer.

'The original brief for the competition, won by Mendelsohn and Chermayeff in 1934, asked for something expressing the modern spirit of the time and they got that with a vengeance,' said McLaughlin. 'I hope we do something that reflects our time, but at the moment it is about processes rather than the finished product.'

The assessment panel, which included John McAslan and riba's David Lewis, deemed McLaughlin sensitive to the opportunities and original in approach. He beat a shortlist of Eva Jiricna Architects, De Rijke Marsh Morgan, Burd Haward Marston Architects, Clash Associates, Feary + Heron Architects, sh Architects and Hans Alozie Architects.

FaulknerBrowns has won a limited competition to refurbish and extend the St Leonards Sports Centre for the University of Edinburgh on a prominent site near the new parliament building, Michael Hopkins' Dynamic Earth building and the Scotsman building in Holyrood. The practice will envelop the existing austere 1970s building - with its large sports hall and four stacked gymnasia - with a skin of new accommodation for high-tech sports science and research.

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