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Parry puts final piece in Paternoster jigsaw

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Eric Parry Architects and Sheppard Robson have finally won planning permission for the largest building at Paternoster Square, the City of London's most sensitive development.

The £45 million King Edward Court building had won the backing of English Heritage, the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. Finally this month it won the support of the Corporation of London.

However, the planning process was tempestuous and in July a row erupted when the CABE demanded substantial design changes to Parry's scheme as well as alterations to the Sir William Whitfield masterplan, the basis for all buildings on the square.Whitfield had demanded a classically-styled 9m tall loggia around the square, which would be a separate entity to the office buildings built behind it, and would remain if ever the new buildings were demolished.

CABE insisted this requirement should be dropped because it clashed with Parry's intention. But Whitfield warned the whole scheme could fall through if the masterplan were changed for individual buildings.

A series of crisis meetings resulted in a modified design and Whitfield appeared to back down. The result was a loggia which 'doesn't fly in the face of the way the building is fabricated', according to Eric Parry.

The planning permission is the final piece in the £150 million Paternoster jigsaw, which also includes buildings by MacCormac Jamieson Prichard and Allies and Morrison - already given the go-ahead by the Corporation of London.

'It's a very good resolution to a complex problem, ' a pleased Parry said.

'But the constraints of the site were quite an opportunity.'

Parry has produced a building on two levels. A self-supporting limestone skin drops down from six to five storeys and a taller eightstorey glass and steel block, dubbed 'the crystal', sits above this.The loggia has been changed from a series of arches to a post and lintel design which echoes the design of the stone facade.

'At least now there is a simple reciprocity between the building form and the loggia, ' said Parry.

Before Parry, Michael Hopkins & Partners tried and failed to build on the same site. Hopkins was replaced by Sheppard Robson, which is now working on the design with Eric Parry Architects.

Parry said that work will start once a tenant has been found.

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