The plans released for the Commonwealth Institute in April, pictured above, managed to piss off just about every vested interest in the project. English Heritage, who describe it as "the most important public building in Britain of the late Fifties", deplored the gutting of the interior and the demolishing of the current entrance courtyard. Local residents and the Council were peeved about the tall residential blocks. And the 20th Century Society was "far from convinced".
Licking their wounds, the architects have broken out the HB pencils and sketched a new, improved design. The 'Parabola', as it will be named, now retains much of the original entranceway, and the surrounding luxury blocks have been reduced in height to a more proportionate level.
But have they really made any step forward? The most contentious issue, namely the layout of the interior, hasn't been addressed, with the architect leaving that to the whim of the proposed new tenant, the Design Museum. The council received the plans last week, and will mull them over before reaching a decision.