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Herzog & de Meuron vows to put Tate scheme in the shade

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The architect of the Tate Modern, Herzog & de Meuron, last week pledged to eclipse the architectural success of its Bankside conversion with a design for a new dance centre, in south east London.

As the practice unveiled its £22 million plan for the Laban Centre beside Deptford Creek, partner Jacques Herzog said: 'We hope we can do even better with Laban than the Tate Modern simply because it's a new building.'

'We think it will have the same karma as the Tate which is a great public space, ' added partner Harry Gugger.

The Laban Centre runs undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses and diplomas in dance and will relocate to the new building containing dance studios, a theatre and public facilities, in 2002. It is only the second commission in London for the practice but Herzog said that it has been inundated with potential work on the back of the positive publicity the Tate Modern has received.

So far, it has turned them all down for fear of overloading its seven-strong London office.

To win the commission, the practice beat off competition from architects including Frank Gehry, David Chipperfield Architects and Tony Fretton Architects. It has already won planning permission for its design but work cannot begin on construction until an extra £5 million is raised. Last week English Partnerships pledged £750,000 to the project, but funds are still urgently needed.

Like the Tate Modern, the Laban Centre is planned to act as a catalyst for urban regeneration and has been adopted by the government as an example of arts-led redevelopment.

'The government feels very supportive of this project because at its heart is urban regeneration, ' said local Labour MP Joan Ruddock.

'This is going to be a marvellous aid to the redevelopment of Deptford, ' added the Laban Centre's chairman, Sir Walter Bodman. The scheme is part of a masterplan for the Deptford Creek area which was drawn up by Timpson Manley Architects.

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