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Tower of London seeks its Louvre pyramid

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Seven top practices including Daniel Libeskind Architectural Studio and Ian Ritchie Architects have been shortlisted to design a Tower of London visitor centre to compare with IM Pei's glass pyramid in France.

The Tower Environs Scheme aims to make a clean sweep of the messy walkways and tube entrance by the 1000-year-old site. Also shortlisted are Dominique Perrault Architecte, Itsuko Hasegawa Atelier, MacCormac Jamieson Prichard, Mecanoo Architecten and Stanton Williams.

The £8 million project will involve overhauling the Tower Hill vaults to the west of the tower. The winner will create a reception and ticketing area and a visitor centre. It will focus on historical themes of the tower. The cash will come from the tower, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Pool of London Partnership's local businesses and voluntary groups.

A winner will be chosen by a panel including Lord Rogers, Lady Patty Hopkins and Eric Parry in September. They will look at proposals that compare with such public spaces as the Louvre's glass pyramid, said a spokesman for the Tower of London. Work is due to start in 2000.

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