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Amin Taha's RIBA Award-winning home and office faces demolition by Islington Council
United Kingdom Architecture News - Oct 10, 2018 - 04:58 9168 views
London-based architect Amin Taha's gridded stone facade office and home has faced with demolition by the Islington Council, as the building's finished exoskeleton doesn't match with the original plans submitted to the Council's portal in 2012.
Named 15 Clerkenwell Close, Taha uses the six-story building as his home and office and lives on the top floor of the building. The architect's building has won two awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), including RIBA London Award 2018 and RIBA National Award 2018.
But Taha, recently, has faced with the decision of demolition for his building as the finished building does not reflect what was proposed in the initial planning application in 2012. The architect went for an appeal recently and the decision will be made in March 2019.
The building received two enforcement notices until now, which one of them sent by the council in 2017, saying that the materials, design and height of the building were not matching with the original plans.
In the first official notice, according to the Council Mr. Taha had used stone rather than brick for the facade. The façade of the building is built from raw limestone structural columns and beams, fossilised ammonite shells, coral and quartz extracted from a quarry in France.
Taha insisted that the plans of the project were approved by planners, but that the paperwork was lost.
"It’s our family home, it’s my office. My parents should be retiring and coming to live here and my sister too, but we’ve had to put it on hold because it could all be destroyed. If I have to demolish this building it will bankrupt me and cost millions," said Mr. Taha.
"The building reminds us of the vanished 11th century limestone Norman abbey which was here. It’s an expression of the innate beauty of the material itself and the skills of the stonemasons and quarry masons to reveal those fossils and allow that to be the dressing," added Mr. Taha.
Then, the Islington Council issued the second enforcement notice to Mr. Taha in February 2018 to tear down the building as the finished building does not reflect the original structure that was granted planning permission and conservation area consent in 2013, according to a spokesperson from Islington Council.
The statement also read that the building’s "design and location" is "harming the character and appearance of the local area."
"It started to snowball, from an error and mistake, into a fiasco. It’s surreal — absurd —because it was approved," added Mr. Taha.
"After an investigation, the council has come to the view that the building at 15 Clerkenwell Close does not reflect the building that was granted planning permission and conservation area consent in 2013. In the council’s view, the existing building does not benefit from planning permission, and the council issued an enforcement notice on 26 February 2018, to take effect on 9 April 2018," said an Islington spokesman.
After these, Amin Taha will submit a new application to the Council, detailing the locations of all the fossils on the building's facade.
"The owners of the site appealed that enforcement notice on 6 April 2018, and the case will now be handled by the Planning Inspectorate," concluded an Islington spokesman.
Amin Taha runs his office Amin Taha + Groupwork in London with eight people on the top of the same building. Amin Taha, who has previously worked with Zaha Hadid, and then set up his own architecture studio. 15 Clerkenwell Close won both RIBA London Award 2018 and RIBA National Award 2018.
All images © Timothy Soar