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Rogers launches counter-attack in Aquatics Centre row

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Richard Rogers has today jumped to Zaha Hadid's defence over accusations that the cost of her controversial London 2012 Olympics Aquatics Centre has spiralled out of control.

The mayor of London's chief architectural adviser has insisted the project remains on budget, despite widely publicised claims by Olympics minister Tessa Jowell that the scheme had come in at almost double the original £75 million cost estimate ( Zaha forced back to drawing board as Olympic pool costs spiral).

According to Jowell, 'changes in specification' on the 20,000-seat pool proposals had led to a huge hike in the project's budget - a situation she branded 'simply unacceptable'.

However, Rogers' comments, printed in a letter to the Guardiantoday, fly in the face of Jowell's criticisms of the key Olympics scheme.

The co-chair of the competition panel which selected Hadid's successful pool design back in 2004, Rogers is adamant the proposals have not changed and that they remain on budget.

He said: 'I wish to make clear that the winning design by Zaha Hadid Architects has not exceeded the construction costs of £75 million.

'All competition schemes were scrutinised by a technical panel against clear cost and deliverability criteria. The Hadid scheme was within budget and less expensive than other submissions.'

He added: 'The Zaha Hadid design was in full compliance with the brief requirements.

'The scheme has not changed and no further design work has been done since the competition was held in 2004.'

by Richard Waite

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