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Weighing up all the issues for a good design

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LETTERS

Your editorial 'Forging a new climate for joined-up thinking' (AJ 14.6.01) raises some interesting questions about what constitutes good design for offices to be occupied by quasi bodies, and how projects should be evaluated.

CABE has an important and valuable contribution to make, but with design reviews lasting not much more than 20 minutes, its overview of complicated projects should be treated with respect but caution.

Perhaps more respect should be paid to the scrutiny of the 30 or so staff and professional advisors of the client end user for the Met Office project who laboured for 10 weeks testing the submissions against a wideranging set of criteria.

Since CABE last saw the preliminary proposals, the Broadway Malyan design has evolved into a scheme that promises to be an exceptional and environmentally interesting response to the brief and one that the Met Office clearly believes best meets its needs.

As CABE has not seen the preferred scheme yet, its public comments are at best described as premature.

PFI is certainly no panacea, but it does involve a deep analysis of all the issues that add up to making a good public building, judged by the people who are going to commission, use and pay for it over many years - real joined-up thinking, in fact.

Peter Crossley, managing director, Broadway Malyan

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