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Wednesday23 July 2014

East London mega-mosque switches architects again

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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.

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Readers' comments (13)

  • Is there an actual building anywhere in that image, or is the scheme just a giant brown ribbon?

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  • zecks_marquise

    ah welcome back laura

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  • Alisa Selezneva

    methinks brown ribbon IS a bulding... though I could be wrong

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  • Sebastian Cuff

    I must say I do like the windswept brown plastic debris concept. Quite fitting that it is based on the sorts of objet trouves one finds in these parts of east London: bits of plastic blowing around the streets anchored down by the frequent elements of dog excrement or the like. And I am sure that NRAP are a talented bunch of discerning chaps who can make this more cutting edge design even more splendid.

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  • What a sickening collection of euphemisms in play here : “client unrest” translates to unpaid architects fees! NRAP is an interesting moniker for an outfit working for an essentially Islamic client : it could be straight outa’ Compton? N*****RAP!!!!!! As for the scheme : hopefully it will never see the light of day. Such a huge building for what should be a quiet understatement of an immigrant belief system that is respectful towards the host culture/society beggars belief? Then we have the hoary old chestnut : “consultation with the local community” AKA the minority who want to build the thing!
    Long term it is better to adopt a low profile by dissipating a number of smaller centres over a much greater area : less antagonistic and much more effective socially, and respectful of the true (ie genuine!) function of such a centre. The only thing that such mega -symbolism does is attract the fanatical rather than the rational. It is to be hoped that Newham can keep a lid on things : might improve the embarassingly naive concept design to start with!!??

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  • There can be only one

    Hello Laura, would you say the design was horrendous ?

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  • FLAB Architects

    We are also working on light weight ephemeral buildings. We want to take the Ikea concept of disposable furniture and apply it to a large scale single use cultural centre.

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  • This is by no means the first time these guys have failed to pay ! In the 13 or more years since they bought the site they have parted company with a number of architects and consultants, but they have singularly failed to come up with anything that might resemble a master plan for the site.

    Perhaps the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation should CPO the site and bring it back into productive use.

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  • i like this

    has a lot of elegance

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  • Being frank & Ernest! Good idea Mr Lynch : it would teach the rotters a lesson! Can’t mess UK planning law around : can you/we!
    CPO the site and build a Tesco’s on it!!!!

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