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Interior life

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A good crowd turned out for the Interiors Forum discussion on the merits of rebuilding as against refurbishment last week. John Worthington of DEGW was on fine form, describing how for a client who wanted a management training centre the solution had been neither refurbishing a small castle nor designing a new building, but adapting a budget hotel for four-day-a-week use.

Developer Bennie Gray described his current project in the jewellery quarter of Birmingham, where he is making the most of a '60s concrete slab block which has started to acquire the patina of times past. Lord (Richard) Best, who heads the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, was fascinating on the economics of new-build lowcost (and low-rent) Caspar housing, making a powerful case for new prefabricated construction, while Kate Mills from the BRE gave a cogent explanation of analysis methods for energy consumption.There was general agreement on one point: the case for the new terminal at Heathrow would never have been made unless massive new retail facilities formed part of the proposal. It's the only sort of out-of-town shopping centre allowed these days.

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