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Friday01 August 2014

Everyone's a winner in council style wars

The traditional design for Horseferry Road
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A central London council has given the green light to both a modernist and a classical design for the same site.

Housebuilding giant Barratt had put forward the alternative schemes — to turn the former Horseferry Road Magistrates’ Court into a 144-unit residential block — to get around a growing “style war” in Westminster.

Both proposals have been put forward by Essex-based practice Stanford Eatwell & Associates after an earlier design for the site by the same firm was turned down on design grounds last year.

The modernist design
Credit: Stanford Eatwell & Associates
The modernist design

The modern design had been backed by council planners, who branded the more traditional version “inappropriate”.

But councillors have now given the thumbs-up to both versions, leaving it up to the developer to make the final decision.

Barratt will now work up both designs but is not expected to select one for at least another 18 months. The site will not be available until January 2012.

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Readers' comments (10)

  • I love how the angle of the renders differ to suit the style - classical building in the foreground for one, and modernist in the other :) Both look pretty decent though, on the face of it.

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  • Maybe they could do half and half

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  • Neither are good. 'Classical' - the architect had no idea. As for 'modernist'... just because it's 2010 doesn't make it 'modernist'.

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  • The proportions and detailing of the classical one are awful...

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  • Style is not a facade alone, this comparison of building skins is a redundant debate.

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  • So that means dual design approaches to all major projects? How tragic and what a gutless surrender and lack of belief in design skills. New design trend alert : "CAPO" = cut-and-paste-origins. RIBA heading towards 'reactionary-infrastructure-&-building-accountants??!!

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  • Whats everyone getting their knickers in a twist about? Both designs look fine to me provided they are well detailed with quality materials appropriate to this elegant stretch of the Horseferry Road. They are better than the dull 60s courts building which looks like the back end of a bus.

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  • Both are indeed skins, but some skins are more attractive than others. Improve the proportions of the square windows (make them taller) and the classical scheme wins by a mile.

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  • In the first image, compare the size of the windows in the "classical" Barratt building with the windows in the building next to it (in the foreground). The "classical" Barratt development has such mean-spirited window sizes which probably reflect the miserly room proportions of the flats they're building. When will the volume house builders ever raise their game?

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  • "All architecture is politics", Richard Rogers. The architects should've stuck to a design and fought for it.

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