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Rouse and Cossons hail the 'best' office schemes

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CABE chief executive Jon Rouse has revealed new evidence for clients: good design can win you higher rents.

Speaking to the 'Property in the City' conference last week, at which London mayor Ken Livingstone again attacked English Heritage over the Bishopsgate Goodsyard saga, Rouse quoted research undertaken by the Property Council of Australia. In a study of 16 developments, there was evidence of a design dividend of higher rentals in well-designed buildings, he said. And, as examples of excellent office design in the UK, Rouse pointed to ORMS's Capital HQ in Nottingham, DEGW's Boots office, also in Nottingham, and BA Waterside by Niels Torp.

Rouse's exemplars were followed by EH chief Sir Neil Cossons, who also listed his favourite offices. Cossons praised KPF's Thames Court groundscraper, which had entailed the demolition of a Grade II-listed building, and he described the Richard Rogers Partnership's Lloyd's Register of Shipping as 'outstanding'.

He also praised the venue of the conference, the new headquarters for Merrill Lynch by Swanke Hayden Connell, where 50,000m 2of offices and Europe's largest dealing floors have been fitted into a site containing Grade I- and II*-listed buildings, four scheduled ancient monuments and an operating post office rail delivery system, all within the restrictions of St Paul's Heights (AJ 24.1.02).

The conference also heard from City planner Peter Rees, who suggested Cossons was trying to recreate with the Bishopgate Goodsyard site the kind of 'theme park' he had as director of the Ironbridge museum. Cossons said he was in 'constructive' discussions with EH and that the proposed East London Line could be built over the top of the Braithwaite Viaduct.

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