Last week, Karis boss Josh Arghiros ended months of speculation about Gehry’s role on the £290 million seafront development by announcing that the project had been handed over to executive architect HOK. Speaking to the Brighton Argus, Arghiros added that he had not spoken to the Canadian architect ‘since just after Christmas’.
Now, local anti-development campaign group Save Hove has claimed that Gehry’s exit contravened a clause in the Section 106 agreement between Karis and Brighton and Hove Council, signed last July.
The clause reads: ‘[The] developer hereby agrees it will use reasonable endeavours to retain Gehry Partners and HOK as project architects.’
The news alarmed CABE. The body said it stands by its 2006 design review of the leisure centre and 750-apartment plans, which stated: ‘It is essential that the care of architectural thought is carried through to detailed design and implementation, so we are pleased to note that the architect will be retained throughout the process.’
However, Karis spokeswoman Heather Price was ‘not overly concerned’ by the accusations. She said: ‘It has always been our intention that HOK would take the scheme forward and the council was aware of that.’
‘The difficult thing for Gehry was the way the British system works. He would want to develop the design until it started on site. [But] we just don’t have that flexibility,’ she said.