Architect Levitt Bernstein has been chosen to replace Stirling prize winners Herzog & de Meuron after it quit a housing scheme in east London.

The Hackney firm beat off competition from Fashion Architecture Taste, Stanford Eatwell, MEPK and Stephen Davey Peter Smith.

Herzog & de Meuron left the government-backed scheme in Plaistow at the end of last year after a row with Newham council over design changes – although the firm claimed at the time that it was too busy with the stadium for the Beijing Olympics to retain the project.

FAT director Sam Jacobs, who saw Herzog’s plans for the 90-unit scheme for developer London & Quadrant Housing Trust, said the designs were highly unusual.

He said: “The plans were very different from the usual UK social housing. It had done a lot of research. It was quite different from what you would expect. It looked quite difficult to deliver, the type where the designer would require a lot of support, which shouldn’t be a problem.”

Levitt Bernstein had worked on initial plans for the key-worker housing project before the client appointed Herzog & de Meuron.

Herzog’s plans were very different from the usual UK social
housing. It looked difficult to deliver

Sam Jacobs, director of FAT

A spokesperson for the London Development Agency, which is backing the scheme, said Levitt Bernstein had been chosen because its plans would be easy to build.

He said: “Tower Housing Association [a subsidiary of London & Quadrant] has appointed Levitt Bernstein as it came up with a proposal that offers the best option in terms of design and feasibility for the Greengate House site.”

In the aftermath of Herzog & de Meuron’s departure, the LDA insisted that FAT and dRMM were put on to the shortlist as it said it wanted to involve young designers.

However, dRMM refused to get involved. It expressed reservations about the politics surrounding the scheme and said it had come at a bad time for the practice.

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