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Kapoor set to build Olympic tower as mega-mosque flounders

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Anish Kapoor is understood to have landed a project to build a huge tower in the Olympic Park just days after another proposed East London landmark – the £300 million mega-mosque – hit the buffers

According to AJ sources, the Turner Prize-winning artist has scooped the Boris Johnson-backed contest to build a massive sculpture on the 2012 site. Kapoor’s scheme, which would tower above the Olympic stadium and has the support of steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, saw off competition from Antony Gormley (see AJ 26.10.10).

Although neither the Greater London Authority nor the artist was willing to confirm the news, it is believed the ‘dramatic’ winning structure will incorporate lifts for visitors and offer ‘unrivalled’ views over London.

Meanwhile, Allies and Morrison’s plan for a ‘mega-mosque’ close to the Olympic site is in disarray after the project backer failed to submit a masterplan for the development.

Newham Council confirmed that Tablighi Jamaat, the controversial Islamic group behind the proposal, had been asked to provide a strategy for the Abbey Mills site in West Ham by early January, but had failed to do so.

Temporary planning permission expired in late 2006 and an illegal temporary mosque has allegedly been operating on the plot since then.

A spokesperson said that Tablighi Jamaat had been given until today (21 January) to leave the site or the council would take formal enforcement action.

Other options include compulsory purchase, although the spokesperson said taking ownership of the land is ‘not currently a consideration’.

Up-and-coming practice Mangera Yvars Architects originally drew up plans for the mosque in 2005 (pictured above), but was replaced by Allies and Morrison in 2007. Zaha Hadid was approached to take over the job, but refused.

Ali Mangera, director at Mangera Yvars Architects, said he was not surprised the project had been abandoned: ‘The scheme required a well-organised client team capable of understanding the design process.’

The Tablighi Jamaat Trust was unavailable for comment and Allies and Morrison declined to comment due to a confidentiality agreement.

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