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Kemp Muir Wealleans ExCels in the Royal Docks

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Architects such as Kemp Muir Wealleans and Manser Associates have won a clutch of projects associated with the massive £250 million ExCel project - the conference centre to be built on a 40ha site in London's Royal Docks later this year to original designs by Moxley Architects.

At the Royal Victoria Dock KMW has been asked to look at two Victorian warehouses with a view to adapting them to a £4 million 'club hotel' (above) and design studio/food-related uses. The practice will also look at adapting a further warehouse as a nightclub for client Snowgold. Both schemes have come about following its work at Chatham Maritime for English Partnerships.

The practice is also designing a £10.8 million 'contractors village' on the site of the former West Ham Power Station near Bow Creek. It will serve as a warehouse and distribution park for ExCel's exhibition contractors. To be called Electra Park, it includes 22,000m 2 of space in units from 2000m 2 to 10,000m 2 and the project is waiting for planning ratification from the DETR, since it adapts a protected wharf. It already has approval in principle from the local council.

ExCel chief executive Iain Shearer told the AJ the conference centre will open in November and provide 100,000m

2 of event space - 1.5 times the size of the Dome - to rival the NEC in Birmingham for major 'sexy' shows in IT, travel and food. It has planning permission to enlarge by 60 per cent, has already booked 150 shows, and is understood to be on the verge of confirming the London Boat Show. The project backers are also looking to transform the wider area along with other architects to create a 'destination' for businessmen and women - with hotels, restaurants, flats, retail, a nightclub, squares and landscaping projects all planned.

Manser Associates is working on a new build, fourstar 200 room hotel to the east of ExCel and Patel Taylor is working with EDAW on a new Royal Victoria Square. Shearer is also excited by the prospect of a new stand-alone glass creche designed by Pierre Botschi near the Square. KMW has also won a competition to build a £1.8 million new sports hall in Malvern and it intends to buy Stefan Zins Associates to strengthen its residential work. KMW's John Muir said he and fellow director Martyn Kemp will be joining Stefan Zins Associates' board in April and anticipates buying the practice in around a year's time.

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