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Turner Contemporary's sea trials 'dead in the water'

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The Turner Contemporary centre in Margate has decided against building another structure to replace the metal obelisk washed away during storms in January (AJ 3.2.05).

The 6m-high prototype was being used to test steel finishes for the proposed £25 million arts centre by Snøhetta and Spence - to be built 8m off Margate Pier - when it was torn from its foundations in heavy seas.

Now it appears the gallery will try to press ahead with plans for the landmark arts complex without further sea trials.

Sandy Fleming, spokeswoman for Turner Contemporary, explained the decision: 'The point of the obelisk was for it to be in [the water] for a substantial amount of time, ' she said. 'But there's no point now.' The team still intends to float the steel building - shaped like a submarine's conning tower - into place by the end of next year, in time for the official opening in summer 2007.

A number of land-based tests are planned, including hanging several sheets of metal off the pier to examine paint finishes.

Meanwhile, the project leaders hope to name the team who will mastermind the off-site construction of the four-storey building within the next few days.

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