This is not the first time that major plans have been presented for this site. Last year, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners designed a modern development for Chelsea Barracks, which was met with such hostility from locals and the Prince of Wales that the plans had to be withdrawn. Architects stood divided over Rogers’ plans; however when Prince Charles presented his own design for the site, a WAN poll discovered that two thirds of architects preferred Rogers’ modernist development to the classic interpretation by the Prince of Wales.
Despite the rejection of Charles’ plans, the new scheme is said to be classically influenced, with a more formal layout than Rogers’ modernist grid of freestanding apartment blocks. So the debate of modern versus classic continues. Whilst the original RSHP plan included three times the specified amount of public space noted in the Council’s brief, the new master plan also presents space for public art, open plazas and a range of public realm elements, including a boutique hotel, a community sports facility and a medical centre. The former Garrison Chapel is also set to play a part in the shift from private to public space, as the new master plan suggests that the local residents and members of the general public present their views on how the structure should be incorporated into the residential design. Detailed building designs are to be drawn up by a variety of architects, all of which are yet to be appointed.
A Qatari Diar spokesman said: “Qatari Diar has a long-term commitment to major investment at this site in order to create a sustainable new neighbourhood for London, delivering both private and public spaces where people will want to be. Extensive public consultation has been central to developing a concept that we believe will be an authentic London landscape yet forward looking in character, capable of adapting over time and therefore truly sustainable.”