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Is this the end of the line for Crossrail architects?

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Design teams are left sweating as review could see them dropped from Crossrail

Architects’ involvement in Crossrail could be in jeopardy after the body admitted that it was reviewing which practices will work on the stations.

Crossrail refused to confirm whether the architects who worked on the 2004 proposals, including John McAslan, Wilkinson Eyre and Ian Ritchie, would continue to do so.

A spokesman for Crossrail said: ‘We are undergoing a review of station designs and details in relation to which architects will be working on what stations.’

Designs were drawn up in 2004 by a host of architects in parallel with engineering giants Arup and WS Atkins, which are leading one of the four multi-disciplinary teams appointed to oversee the development of the project along different stretches of the line.

Although these consortia are currently continuing work, some 2004-appointed architects have downed tools.

One of the practices working on a Crossrail station told the AJ that it had stopped working on its station six months ago, and added: ‘We don’t know when it will restart.’ Another admitted: ‘It’s all a bit complicated.’

A Crossrail insider admitted that the practices’ involvement was ‘currently under review’, and added: ‘We currently have in-house architects and multi-disciplinary teams working on it. It’s all up in the air.’
In 2006, Arup took over the design of Bond Street Crossrail station from Tony Meadows Associates, and there are questions whether the four consortia will bring more design work in house, with further rumours of cost-cutting.

Last week, Doug Oakervee, chairman of Crossrail developer Cross London Rail Links (CLRL) told a US magazine that the precise contractual arrangements were still uncertain. One of Oakervee’s remits when he was appointed in February 2006 as chairman was to reduce project costs and make the project viable.

Nick Raynsford, former construction minister and Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, said: ‘We want stations of the quality of the Jubilee line but without its procurement disasters.’

The Crossrail Bill, which would ratify the development, is currently going through parliament and is expected to gain Royal assent in Summer 2008.

None of the architects selected in 2004 would go on the record about their designs.

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