Rykwert among 500 objecting to Adam
Robert Adam’s plans for a palatial multi-million pound house on the fringes of Hampstead Heath are facing opposition from a host of high-profile architects and heritage figures
BD revealed earlier this month that the neo-classical scheme will go to a planning inquiry after an appeal was lodged.
The proposal involves the demolition of the “Jacobethan-style” Athlone House and its replacement with a far larger 4,645sq m copper-domed dwelling for Kuwaiti billionaire Nasser al-Kharafi.
Now, it has emerged that the 540 objectors to the proposal include architectural historians Joseph Rykwert and Andrew Saint, English Heritage head of listing Roger Bowdler, and chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund in London, Wesley Kerr.
Rykwert, who lives locally, wrote a letter to the council, describing Adam’s proposal as a “serious threat” to the area.
Saint, a specialist on the latter Victorian period, called the existing 1871 house a “powerful and unusual” building which should not be demolished.
“I have visited the site on various occasions,” he wrote. “In its day it was a fine and striking mansion. The work of its architect, Edward Salomons, is rare in London, possibly unique, as he was largely a Manchester architect.”
Kerr, meanwhile, said he thought Adam’s plans were more suited to “Monaco or LA”.
Adam said he was stunned by the “unbelievable passions” his design had aroused. “People may or may not like the design but this is an example of things getting completely out of perspective.”