Ian Ritchie Architects Ltd have issued the following Press Statement:
“From the outset of the project, Ian Ritchie Architects Ltd has always worked closely and constructively with Berkeley Homes. The scheme offers housing, both private and affordable, eleven thousand square metres of public space of which eight thousand square metres is for cultural use such as museums or galleries while ensuring that the entire ground level forms a permeable and public extension to Potter’s Fields Park through to the riverside walk. It obtained planning permission in February 2006 following a Public Inquiry at which the Inspector concluded in his report (para. 1140) to the Secretary of State:
“Overall, I consider that the proposals would provide exemplary and world-class architecture on an outstanding and prominent site. The design is one which people would experience with marvel, wonder and delight. It would respect its context, and would provide an outstanding environment in which people could live, work, visit and enjoy. It would also add to London’s cultural and social richness. It would add to Potter’s Fields Park and the important open spaces which give so much public enjoyment along the banks of the Thames. It would enhance the whole of the Capital, and would give to London an architectural gem for present and future generations to treasure.”
It is regrettable that the Leader of Southwark Council never took the opportunity to meet or engage with us, or to discuss in public with us the scheme’s planning, architecture and the proposed uses.
The decision by Southwark Council and Berkeley Homes to agree to seek, from other architects, a new design upon the same site, to a very similar brief, is regrettable, This is particularly so as construction of the scheme had already begun. It is difficult to comprehend and is beyond the issue of architecture.”
Important note for editors:
None of the buildings are taller than Tower Bridge towers, in fact the tallest is more than 6m lower (20 feet or 2 floors).
The cultural space provision has been part of the scheme since its inception, and the gross internal floor area for the cultural use is 8,122m2 (87,500 square feet) – almost three time the gross floor area of the present Design Museum at Shad Thames. Ian Ritchie Architects brought to the attention of L B Southwark the idea of a cultural use on this site not only with this scheme but as far back as 1995 with the Royal Opera House proposal.
2nd May 2008