Architecture Update: Quality quest

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The Independent Culture
JOHN GUMMER, Secretary of State for the Environment, is said to be seeking an architect to advise on the design quality of new developments. He might begin his crusade by ensuring the revamping of his own Westminster headquarters meets the highest standards. Soon after his predecessor, Michael Heseltine, announced that the Sixties headquarters of the Department of the Environment in Marsham Street (below) was to be demolished, the DoE commissioned the architects Fitzroy Robinson to produce a scheme cramming as much office space as possible on the site. This plan has been submitted for outline planning permission to Westminster City Council. The Royal Fine Art Commission has told the DoE the scheme is an overdevelopment of the site and that the design is too simplistic and unimaginative for a site as sensitive as Marsham Street.