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Miami's Arquitectonica reveals plans for UK debut

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US practice Arquitectonica has finally revealed plans for its first UK scheme – a 22-home, mixed-use project for developer Hobhouse in Whitcomb Street, central London

Bermondsey-based Brisac Gonzalez Architecture is working alongside the Miami-based firm on the development behind the National Portrait Gallery which also includes new shops and offices.

Arquitectonica was formed in 1977 as an ‘experimental studio’ by Bernardo Fort-Brescia and Laurinda Spear and is known for quirky designs, including the Atlantis Condominium, a glass tower block with a hole through the middle which featured in the title sequence of 1980s cult TV show Miami Vice.

The firm also has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Manila, Dubai, Lima and São Paulo. While it has worked in mainland Europe, running projects out of its Paris office, the firm has never before cracked the UK market.

Last month Hobhouse, the Luxembourg-based property company behind the scheme, submitted a revised planning application to redevelop the site, having asked the design team to tweak earlier designs (see AJ 06.02.14).

A representative for Hobhouse said ‘The proposal by Arquitectonica is one of a number of schemes in the area which will improve the environment surrounding Whitcomb Street, enhancing this link between Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square.’

The project team includes Richard Coleman of townscape consultants Citydesigner.

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