Allies and Morrison's new design for the Architecture Foundation headquarters in London (AJ 20.07.06) is a significant departure from the first competition-winning design by Zaha Hadid. It is certainly a less striking building and one wonders if Hadid's original design would have won if it had looked like this latest version. Surely the budget should have been taken into account, so that a true reection of the winning scheme could have been built, and this kind of sad compromise avoided?
Allies and Morrison, in this difficult situation, is not at fault and has probably produced a decent building. Rather it's the client who is to blame for awarding first prize to a scheme which they should have known could not be built within the budget.
Is the knowledge of how to cost building works not a core architectural skill in the UK any more? If this is the case, then perhaps the Architecture Foundation should include a QS on the judging panel next time.
Michael Badu, NPS Property Consultants