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Mixed reactions to proposals on RIBA HQ cafe shake-up

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Proposals to redesign and extend the cafe at the RIBA headquarters in Portland Place and to reconfigure the Florence Hall were 'totally opposed' by one council member. Tarsem Flora condemned them as 'like nibbling into the green belt.'

Other members were more positive about the proposals, drawn up by the advisor and deputy on premises, Chris Williamson and Simon Allford, with Alex Reid and Alicia Pivaro, director of the architecture gallery.

Williamson told council: 'I have a close attachment to the Florence hall but it is an expensive space to put exhibitions up.

There is no hanging space.'

Although the proposal would eat away some of the space, it would also address this problem. And, he said, 'It is a pity there is no alternative for putting the cafe elsewhere.'

Other members were more concerned that there was no space in the building in which members could sit down without buying a cup of coffee, although Catherine Hennessy recommended the 'marvellous restroom' off the ladies lavatory in the basement.

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