`HAZARD' IN FLAGSHIP STATION

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The Independent Online
IT WAS the flagship station of the Government's flagship transport project, designed to carry London commuters into the next century. But Canary Wharf, the Lord Foster-designed station on London's Jubilee Line extension, is proof that it is not only in Germany that users object to his creations, write Raymond Whitaker and Mark Rowe.

No sooner had the station opened in September than the Railways Inspectorate dec- lared it was unhappy with the height of handrails around the second set of escalators. There was said to be a risk that commuters could tumble into the opening for the escalators which lead to the platforms. A stretch of unsightly wire fencing was hastily arranged around the handrails - in the middle of the gleaming, state-of-the art concourse.

A London Underground spokeswoman was unable to say yesterday whether a redesign of the handrails was planned, or why the flaw was not spotted earlier. "We're waiting for the inspectorate to come back to us to establish the next move," she said.

In Cambridge, the Law Faculty designed by Lord Foster is the subject of complaints nearly four years after it opened. Every time students enter and leave the lecture halls in the basement, people in the Squire law library, on the upper three floors, are disturbed. "You can hear every word they are saying in the basement," said one library user. "Whenever someone buys a soft drink from the machine on the ground floor, the clunks of the can and the change being spat out reverberate through the building."

To create the characteris- tic Foster ground-to-rooftop sweep of glass, which leaked during the first downpour after the opening, because some seals were faulty, the upper floors were built as "shelves". Each stops a couple of feet short of the glass, allowing noise to travel upwards. "There are building engineers in here every day, trying to work out how to solve the problem," said a student.

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