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Victorian Society objects to LSE scheme

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The Victorian Society has objected to the demolition of a red-brick hospital on the site of O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects’ competition-winning London School of Economics (LSE) student centre

The scheme would demolish the 1904 AA Kekwich-designed St Philips Medical Centre and build a seven-storey student centre with café, pub, library and roof terrace on the site.

In June last year, the Dublin-based practice bagged the RIBA-run competition, beating David Chipperfield Architects, Danish practice 3XN, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris and de Rijke Marsh Morgan Architects.

Heloise Brown, conservation advisor at the Victorian Society, thinks the project is ‘insensitive’ to the conservation area. ‘It’s a very strident statement that doesn’t really relate to the buildings around it,’ she said.
‘It’s very tall; the building is very angular with big glass expanses.’

LSE is investing £36 million in buildings for the site and said the development ‘will enhance the Strand Conservation Area and greatly improve the lives of students for decades to come’.

A spokesperson added: ‘As an unlisted building of neutral interest, the demolition of the St Philips building is considered to be justified under national and local planning policies and has been granted for a previous scheme. We will relocate medical services currently provided from the St Philips building to another site very nearby.’

 O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects declined to comment.

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