More bad news for the standard of Deptford's built environment after trade magazine Building Design claimed (site requires registration) that the high-profile practice Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners would not be taking the proposed Deptford Project through to completion.
The magazine reports:
BD understands it is the firm’s fee demands that have resulted in it being sidelined on a housing scheme in south-east London which is being developed by Cathedral and social housing specialist United House.
RSHP won planning for its role in The Deptford Project in March last year, but it is understood the developer is now looking at replacing it with a cheaper firm.
Cathedral hopes to start work on its Deptford site later this year and said: “As with many projects of this type we will be entering a design and build contract with our contractor, and under that arrangement we will, together, decide which architecture practice provides delivery services throughout that process. We are currently working through that discussion.”
The scheme got planning permission last year but very little has happened on site as yet except for the temporary tenants of the arches being turfed out and some hoardings put up; and as Crosswhatfields blog reported recently, the future of Deptford's beloved train carriage cafe is now in doubt as no-one is willing to offer it a new home.
While I'm not unduly worried about the loss of the 'starchitect' on this project, I do hope that whichever practice replaces RSHP will have sufficient weight and authority to ensure that the quality of structure proposed in the original application will be carried through to completion.
I am not a huge fan of this particular design, but if executed properly it could become a strong visual landmark for Deptford. Unfortunately too often in design build contracts, cost is the sole motivator and quality of design and construction becomes an afterthought, or even worse, is entirely forgotten.
The evaluation process that contractors now refer to as 'value engineering' generally uses the word 'value' with all the finesse and sophistication of Tescos.