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I was alarmed to read that Alsop's Palestra is seen as setting the scale for development in Southwark (AJ 05.10.06). Aesthetics aside (what is it but a dumb glass box with a few trademark add-ons? ), this cannot go unchallenged in case planners get the wrong idea.

It's precisely its scale that gives the wrong message - the more so because of that cantilever looming oppressively over the pavement. While new buildings on Blackfriars Road can have a fair degree of presence (it is a broad, busy road), what lies behind them is mostly residential and they need to acknowledge that.

Perhaps when the next site near Palestra comes up for grabs, we might see a more responsible model?

Don Livingston, Kettering

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