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Viñoly slams Leicester critics - image

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Rafael Viñoly has hit back at the growing number of critics calling for a rethink of his planned Leicester Performing Arts Centre (LPAC).

Last week international theatre-design guru Richard Pilbrow became the latest 'expert' to launch an attack on the £48 million project, claiming the proposals were 'impractical' and 'foolish'.

Speaking to leading theatrical trade magazine The Stage, Pilbrow said the plans for a massive glass box, which will wrap around two auditoria, would be problematic.

Pilbrow, the head of the Association of British Theatre Technicians' (ABTT) planning committee, also damned the acoustics and argued that parts of the design had been unacceptably 'cut or compromised'.

However Viñoly, who collaborated with Pilbrow on the Kimmel Centre scheme in Philadelphia, has retaliated to the outburst, claiming the criticisms were way off the mark.

He said: 'These comments are ill informed to say the least. Richard does not know the project well enough - all he has seen is a 10-minute presentation at a conference.'

Viñoly added: 'The notion of an inside-out theatre was an absolutely fundamental premise of the brief. The LPAC called for this themselves, this was not my idea. Our competition-winning scheme fulfilled that brief.'

Following Pilbrow's assault, there are increasing calls for all theatre projects to have to be vetted by the ABTT.

But Viñoly is adamant there have been enough design checks on the current proposals.

He said 'If it is the intention, by way of these comments, to put the project through another review of another professional institute, of which Richard is head, then it is out of timing.'

by Richard Waite

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