Fate of Hoxton Square development by world-leading architect Zaha Hadid hangs in balance
PUBLISHED: 10:30 10 June 2013 | UPDATED: 10:30 10 June 2013
The future of a controversial prism-shaped building designed by a world-leading architect - which has been in the pipeline for more than five years - is hanging in the balance.
The building in Hoxton Square was originally intended to be the first in England designed by the renowned Zaha Hadid, who has notched up two Stirling Prizes – the highest accolade a British architect can win – and the Pritzker Architecture Prize, dubbed the Nobel Prize of the industry.
But since plans for the former garment factory-turned-art-gallery were first touted in 2006, Ms Hadid has gone on to design two other buildings in the UK – including the iconic London 2012 Games aquatics centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton.
Heavy opposition from English Heritage meant a planning application for the Hoxton Square site, currently home to Rove Gallery and Ibid Projects, was not lodged until 2008 and lengthy legal negotiations with the council meant that the application was not approved until 2010.
Now, the three-year limit for building work to become active after planning approval is up, and Ms Hadid’s agent Turley Associates has applied to Hackney Council to extend the time frame. A decision on the application is yet to be made.
A spokesman for agent Turley Associates said the building had been held up due to financial reasons and the recession.
However, both Ms Hadid’s representative and applicant Kenny Schachter, an art dealer who owns the current Rove Gallery and is named in the trust which owns the site, also refused to speak to the Gazette about the matter.
Anthony Thistleton, chairman of the Shoreditch Conservation Area Advisory Committee, said: “We struggle to see the hand of Zaha in the design. If you look into the way the building is designed, it’s a very expensive building to build, especially on a constrained site like that.
“The site has more value with the planning consent than it does without.”
The building is currently listed for sale on the website of Richard Susskind & Company and the estate agent said it is under offer.