Architect returns to controversial scheme after Cabe calls replacement’s designs ‘banal’

The saga of the 2012 Olympic media centre took another twist this week after it emerged that Allies and Morrison is to be brought back to oversee the design of the whole project.

The practice was the lead architect for the main press centre (MPC) and the international broadcast centre (IBC), but was replaced on the latter by RPS Burks Green.

Cabe last week described the IBC design as a “mega-structure” of “extraordinary banality”. It asked for more design work to be done on the MPC, but stopped short of a wholesale rethink.

A source close to the scheme said: “Allies and Morrison will be brought back to make sure the design quality is improved. The feeling is that RPS is not in a position to do it.”

RPS Burks Green is known more for industrial than design-led work. Allies and Morrison was nominated for the Stirling prize last year.

Allies and Morrison will be brought back to make sure the design is improved

Source close to scheme

RPS was brought in when the original plans by developer Igloo were scrapped, and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) considered replacing them with a wholly temporary structure.

The ODA this week said the building would be permanent, despite the fact that the planning application it lodged in March envisaged a temporary IBC. The design statement shows that elements of the building were not intended to be compliant with Part L of the Building Regulations, which means that they would have to be removed after two years.

The ODA said this week that the plans had changed owing to discussions held after the planning application was submitted.

An ODA spokesperson said: "As we have said, design work on the external appearance of the IBC/MPC buildings is ongoing. Allies and Morrison as masterplanners and RPS continue to work collaboratively on these updated proposals so there has been no change in the roles of our design teams.”