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Chelsea Barracks, London, United Kingdom

Wednesday 12 Aug 2009

Battle for the Barracks is back

Chelsea Barracks by WAN Editorial in London, United Kingdom
10 architects will now compete to masterplan the 5.18 ha site 
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20/08/09 Peter Hancock, Maseru
It seems a pity that Quinlan Terry was not included in the shortlist of architects selected to compete for the Chelsea Barracks project. In my opinion, Terry's proposal, considered on purely spatial and environmental grounds, with its clearly articulated urban spaces, or squares, was an improvement on the Rogers' scheme, with its parallel barrack-like blocks.
The hyperbolic outcry against the Quinlan Terry scheme, publicised by some minimalist architects, was clearly 'over the top'. This was presumably due to the fact that the traditional architectural trappings of the Quinlan Terry scheme blinded them to the spatial qualities, urban design appropriateness and domestic character of the design.<p>

Lastly, the Rogers' scheme was clearly quite out of scale with its environment
and, significantly, appeared to include the demolition of the historic garrison church on the site.

Peter Hancock, PhD(Urban and Regional Planning)
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10 new names in the mix for London's most controversial scheme 

Ten new firms have been shortlisted by property investment company Qatari Diar for the controversial Chelsea Barracks residential project. The original design, developed by Richard Rogers' firm Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, was unceremoniously dropped in June less than a week before a council decision was due to be taken following a nudge from the Prince of Wales to do so.

The decision to drop Lord Rogers' design was met with uproar in the architecture community with RIBA President Sunand Prasad releasing a statement which said, 'for him (Prince Charles) to intervene in individual schemes going through the planning process is quite wrong'. Will Alsop took action by boycotting the Prince's speech at the RIBA's 175th anniversary celebrations and, together with four other Pritzker Prize winners and 5 further prominent architects, wrote a letter of condemnation to UK newspaper The Sunday Times.

Prior to the decision to drop Rogers' design, the Prince of Wales commissioned classicist Quinlan Terry to draw up an alternative design, his design has not been included in the new shortlist which is as follows:

Alan Baxter & Associates LLP and Paul Davis + Partners

Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company and others

Dixon Jones

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Hamiltons Architects, Think Place and Patel Taylor

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and others

Porphyrios Associates and Allies & Morrison

Robert A.M. Stern Architects and others

Squire & Partners and Kim Wilkie Associates

Terry Farrell & Partners

The £1billion Chelsea Barracks scheme is set to include 50% affordable housing, public open space, high architectural standards 'reflecting its location and importance' and a sustainable design according to Westminster Council's planning brief.

Niki May Young
News Editor

Key Facts

Status Design competition
Value 0(m€)
WAN Editorial

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