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Mather's 'blade' buildings getting rethink by South Bank

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The South Bank Centre is ready to take a step back from proposals for controversial 10-storey 'blade' buildings in next month's competitions to revamp the arts complex.

Two large commercial blocks were pencilled in on Rick Mather's masterplan for the 12ha site along with a range of other commercial buildings. But public concerns over the size and dominance of the buildings now mean that architects will have more flexibility than imagined in designing for commercial use.

degw director, Frank Duffy, who has been drafted in to produce briefs for the three competitions, said: 'Rick's got a strong idea of the blades, but that's not the only possibility. I think we're going to step back from that.' And South Bank Centre commercial director, Mike McCart, said: 'The competitions will ask the architects to produce ways of achieving economic sustainability and mixed uses and the blades might not be the only way.

Three practices will be appointed from international competitions run by sbc, starting in May. The competition briefs will demand a low-key approach from architects and Mather ruled out 'monumental' and 'object' buildings, saying that the stress would be on creating pedestrian movement and better access through the site.

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