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High-flying Alsop & Stormer brought back down to earth

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Alsop & Stormer's £35 million c/plex arts centre for West Bromwich has been cut down to size by local residents, who forced the architects to scrap its plans to support the building on 'stilts'.

Initial designs for the building, revealed last spring, were branded inaccessible by the public during consultations, and the architect was sent back to redesign the building without its 12m stilts. The result is a ground-hugging design with the same number of storeys as its predecessors. The wavy mesh screen surrounding the building has also been scrapped. But despite the major changes, c/plex marketing manager Tim Martienssen, praised the architect for making so much time for the public consultation process.

'The architect made great efforts with the consultations, but people said that, despite the lifts and escalators to provide access from below, the building felt inaccessible,' he said.

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