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Jestico + Whiles first in line for £60m Camden Tube job

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Jestico + Whiles will next month show planners early designs for a potentially controversial redevelopment of Camden Town underground station featuring a major new air rights development.

The scheme will double the size of the ticket hall, which will remain at ground level and mean the installation of four new escalators down to a new, double-height underground concourse. But the most controversial element of the project is set to be the development above the station, which will feature another multiplex cinema for the area, and 2000m 2of retail space at ground level.

Jestico + Whiles was the surprise choice for the £60 million job, beating Wilkinson Eyre Architects which had produced a series of feasibility studies for London Underground on solutions to the congested station. The practice also beat Alsop & Stormer, which produced a design that was too expensive. Each of the practices are signatories to LU 's framework agreement from which LU picks its architects.

'We had done a series of three or four feasibility studies and outline designs, ' said Wilkinson Eyre partner Jim Eyre. 'We were obviously disappointed to lose out on it.

What it comes down to is that it was a competitive fee bid and they won.'

Jestico + Whiles director Tony Ingram agreed its bid was cheaper but denied that this was the only reason for the appointment. 'People are not selecting on the basis of fee figures alone but also on the quality of the submission, ' he said. Jestico + Whiles partner Tom Jestico said that the building will respect the heights of others in the area, which do not exceed around five storeys.However, he said the building would 'step up' beyond this to accommodate the office development and multiplex roofs.

Designs are at an early stage and have not yet been shown to the London Borough of Camden planning department. A planning application is due in October and work is set to start in 2003.

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