The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment has attacked the Meteorological Office for choosing a "weaker design" for its £60m headquarters in Exeter.
CABE said it will complain to ministers over the decision to accept the scheme by Broadway Malyan. It preferred the design submitted by Alsop Architects.

Jon Rouse, chief executive of CABE, said the Malyan design was not compatible with the guidelines published last year in Better Public Buildings.

He said: "We will be making this clear to the relevant ministers. The fact that the announcement of this design coincides with the Ministry of Defence's publication of Better Defence Buildings is particularly unfortunate." The Met Office reports to the MoD.

Rouse added that CABE would continue working with the design team to improve the scheme.

He said: "The real lesson from this project is that public sector clients must try to involve CABE as early as possible in the procurement process."

The lesson is that clients must involve us as early as possible

Jon Rouse, chief executive, CABE

Meanwhile, CABE has told the architect of a large residential scheme in Leicester to go back to the drawing board.

The commission lamented the lack of detail in the architecture shown on the drawings for the scheme, which is proposed for the Bede Island South scheme, next to Leicester City FC.

It also attacked the scheme by CHBC Architects for the 11.5 ha brownfield site for its mix of public and private space.