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Commonwealth Institute, London, United Kingdom 
Friday 16 Jan 2009
 
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Editorial

The designs which bring hope for the revival of the Commonwealth 

Two years ago the grade II listed Commonwealth Institute was threatened with demolition following a UK government proposal to delist it. OMA's concept is being developed with a view to save this modernist monument and give it new purpose.

The new designs reveal that whilst retaining the distinctive copper roof and parabolic form of the Institute, new residential accommodation will integrate into the existing fabric, regenerating that end of Kensington High Street.

A number of uses appropriate to the existing design will be explored, capitalizing on the building’s dynamic interior spaces. OMA advise that careful consideration will be given to the relationship with Holland Park, possibly extending the park condition across the site connecting to the street. Any new residential development should serve to complement the qualities of the existing building.

"There is probably no other period to which contemporary architecture is more indebted than the 1960’s," says a spokesperson for OMA, "a period of structural invention that finally allowed modern architecture to break free from the formalist geometries through which it had manifested itself.

"In the context of architecture’s present quest for the iconic, the 60’s experiments form a rich reservoir of precedents. It is unfortunate that the 1960’s is a period now threatened with extensive demolition. We are very happy to be given the opportunity to conceive a new future for this building and to ultimately rehabilitate a period that continues to inform architecture."

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