East London mega-mosque switches architects again
Allies & Morrison ditched as NRAP becomes third architect for Newham scheme
Allies & Morrison has been replaced on the controversial “mega-mosque” project near the Olympics site in east London by Nicholas Ray Associates & Plastik Architects (NRAP) following unrest with the client.
The Islamic group Tablighi Jamaat confirmed it was working with Cambridge-based NRAP on the scheme. The group runs the Riverine Centre, a temporary mosque on Canning Road in the London Borough of Newham, the site of the proposed scheme.
BD understands from a source close to the project that Allies & Morrison has now parted ways with the group after a dispute about unpaid fees. But Moez Rahman, a spokesman for the Riverine Centre, denied this.
NRAP will be the third practice in five years to work on the job, which was originally designed by Mangera Yvars Architects in 2006. The young architect was replaced a year later by Allies & Morrison, which was commissioned to design a 12,000-capacity building.
“The reason for the switchover is that Nicholas Champkins [associate at Allies & Morrison] left the project,” said Rahman. “It became inevitable that we would seek a new service provider for architecture design.”
Allies & Morrison confirmed that it was no longer working on the project but declined to comment further on the reasons.
NRAP is now preparing for a consultation with the local community, with a view to submitting a planning application in the early stages of 2012. This would put the project on course to achieve the conditions of a planning appeal judgment earlier this year.
In February, Anjuman-E-Islahul-Muslimeen, the charitable trust of Tablighi Jamaat, won an appeal against a ruling by Newham Council that said it must leave the site because temporary planning permission had expired.
A planning inspector concluded that planning permission should be extended for two years, by which time a masterplan should be produced and planning permission secured.
A Newham Council spokesman said: “The trust has engaged with the council and other statutory stakeholders in formal pre-application discussions with a view to submitting a comprehensive masterplan application for the site. Those discussions are ongoing.”
NRAP declined to comment.