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 Elizabeth House Plans Criticised By CABE

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PostSubject: Elizabeth House Plans Criticised By CABE   Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:09 am

Elizabeth House Plans Criticised By CABE

Published on 05-12-2007 by
Government body, the Commission for Architecture and Built Environment, has strongly criticised Allies and Morrisons plans for Elizabeth House in London.

Picking on the most obvious negative aspect of the Waterloo scheme, CABE has gone straight for the jugular and attacked the massing that many believe threatens to create a bulky and impenetrable wall.

CABE single out the office buildings for criticism with the height to width ratios plus the areas between the buildings all made points of disapproval going as far as saying "that a step change in thinking will be necessary for the massing arrangement to be resolved satisfactorily".

Unfortunately for the architects they are dealing with a complicated site that has a number of restrictions on it. Firstly there is the view from Parliament Square whereby any towers will appear directly between Portcullis House and Big Ben reducing the height they can be built at.

Secondly the London Underground train tunnels are only a few metres below a section of the site meaning they can't just build anything but have to take into account very shallow foundations with the western office building constructed over a raft.

One piece of good news however for Allies and Morrison is the response to the residential tower on the western side of the site which is cautiously welcomed as "its form into a stepped tripartite arrangement is an intelligent approach".
Likewise CABE believe that "the public realm and the station represents a huge improvement on the current state of affairs". Given the current state of the area however, this is not as difficult as it sounds.

Despite this improvement CABE do have a number of opinions on how the ground level around the project should be done and significantly believe "there is a strong case for a sectional study to look at where options exist in the wider area to provide level access from Waterloo station to the bridges across the river" and that "consideration should be given to retaining some form of high level link from Waterloo Station to the South Bank".

Where the architects go from here is anyone's guess. Fortunately for them CABE have no actual bite in being able to stop a proposal from progressing through the planning system but they are a useful barometer in problems that could arise.

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