Richard Rogers has spoken out against Levitt Bernstein’s Brunswick project, saying it would do ‘great harm’ to the building
The architect has added his voice to growing criticism of plans to insert a restaurant above the Renoir cinema in the grade II-listed Brunswick Centre.
Rogers has joined more than 360 others – including architects and industry professionals - who have signed a petition calling on Camden Council to reject the application for the restaurant. According to many opponents the new scheme would block important views into the A-frame of the Brunswick Centre.
The new restaurant is based on a previous 2002 proposal by the 1960s building’s original architect Patrick Hodgkinson which was approved by planners.
Writing on the petition forum on change.org Rogers said: ‘Building a restaurant in the middle of the Brunswick Portico will do great harm to one of the greatest modern buildings in Britain.
‘Both Reyner Banham and Alan Powers have written about the beauty of the Brunswick Portico, regarding it as one of the ‘few genuinely sublime architectural sights of London’.
‘The scale of the portico and the way that it introduces transparency into what is otherwise a solid, sculptural building is breathtaking.
‘Putting a restaurant in the middle of the portico wedged between the cinema and the flats will do great harm to the building and the wonderful piazza below.
‘Please say no to this proposal.’
The petition has also been signed by other notable architecture professionals including architectural historian Barnabas Calder, who said: ‘The view up into the A-frame of the Brunswick at this entrance is one of the supreme moments in the complex.
‘This is one of the world’s most important examples of stepped-section high-density medium-rise, and the idea of building into its most expressive void is shockingly insensitive and misguided.’
Catherine Croft, director of the Twentieth Century Society wrote: ‘[The] Team at Park Hill wanted to cut an opening to allow views… That proved too expensive… Keep the one you’ve got at Brunswick’.
Paul Finch described the proposal as a ‘ruinious intervention’.
Levitt Bernstein worked with Patrick Hodgkinson and developer Allied London Properties on the widely-acclaimed reconfiguration of the Brunswick Centre in 2005. The £20m development finally bought the 1960s centre to the same level of configuration to which it was originally designed. Since then it has been hailed as one of the best redevelopments of a 1960s scheme in the country.
A spokesperson for Levitt Bernstein said the firmwere unable to comment on the petition.