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Thursday31 July 2014

Rykwert among 500 objecting to Adam

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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.”

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Readers' comments (10)

  • Robert Adam is happy to play up people passions when it suits his agenda. Perhaps this will teach him some perspective himself.

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  • zecks_marquise

    Has anyone been to the trafford centre in manchester, it looks the same. absolutely hideous

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  • “At heart, the planning system has a democratic base and committees do decide things. But in reality, there is very little democracy in the system. The Prince of Wales is doing what the royal family should do and speaking on behalf of people who are otherwise unrepresented. Let’s really find out what people want and give people a choice.” - Robert Adam April 2009 regarding the controversy surrounding the dropping of Chelsea Barracks proposals

    “People may or may not like the design but this is an example of things getting completely out of perspective.” - Robert Adam October 2010 regarding overwhelming local opposition to his proposals for Athlone House

    Surely some mistake?

    Methinks that Mr Adam's idea of an agreeable person is limited only to those who agree with him, and if the people really had their choice then his proposals would be thrown out.

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  • Shouldn't this historic house be listed rather than demolished??

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  • Carbuncle - opps sorry - it just slipped out :-o

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  • I like the historic house.
    A lovely piece of Victorian folly, very dear ot my own heart.
    The trouble is that it seems to be in poor repair and needing a fortune spent on it.
    This could have been done, given what seems to be a very large site, and could still be done.

    However there are many other factors here.

    Do-gooders will ignore a house falling down around them until someone decides to say enough is enough - lets knock it and redevelop it.
    The fact that it doesn't seem to have been deemed worthy of listing says a lot for their prior form in looking after it.

    I'd say on that on balance, the new Adams house should be given the go-ahead.
    There's got to be room amongst the plethora of shiny symbols for a nice, mid-size, BRAND NEW classical palace or two in England.

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  • I just love Bobby Adam's work. It is becoming very Stalinistic. So Heroic. So sensitive.

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  • Astonishing. What on earth are the planners thinking of? I cannot understand Robert Adam. He attempts to emulate edwardian, victorian, georgian and even art deco design, creating pastiches/legoland copies of historic buildings all over the world, then tries to demolish the very originals that he has based his entire career on.

    As for the client Nasser al-Kharafi - if you don't want this house, others do. Go off and build your vulgar home somewhere else sir.

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  • As the most densly populated country in Europe and the fourth most densly populated in the world, with a dreadful shortage of housing and a rising population, foreigners shouldn't be allowed to own houses in the UK let alone build monstrosities like this. This rule applies in many countries under far less pressure than the UK and I bet that includes Kuwait.

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  • Bloody Hampstead Nimbies.
    (I'm joking!...I think.)

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