The Victorian chapel was grade II listed earlier this year.
Firm is early favourite among all-star lineup for first Qatari Diar commission
Thomas Heatherwick is tipped to win the first design competition at Chelsea Barracks, to convert the grade II listed Garrison chapel.
David Adjaye, Zaha Hadid Architects, DSDHA and Heatherwick Studio have all presented ideas to Qatari Diar chiefs for converting the chapel for community use. But BD understands Heatherwick Studio is the favourite.
One source told BD: “Jeremy Titchen [of Qatari Diar] is very close to Heatherwick — the competition is a smoke screen to appoint him.
“For the chapel it’s about seeing what personalities they want to get involved with. It’s an important project for the site.”
The competition comes in the week that Westminster City Council confirmed that outline planning permission for the project had been granted, and that it would not be called in by the secretary of state.
Meanwhile, the developer is forging ahead with plans to build the luxury homes, which will sell for up to £40 million. This is despite fears that the luxury housing market could stall.
“The developer is worried the houses won’t sell because they’re too expensive at £40 million,” said the source.
The chapel was listed earlier this year when architecture minister John Penrose overturned a previous decision, following new evidence from English Heritage relating to four Victorian tile memorial panels. It is expected that the appointed architect will mainly focus on the interior.
Peter Murray, design adviser on the scheme, said: “For the chapel we want to see something that enhances the repair of the city for that part of Chelsea.”
It is expected that design competitions will be launched in the new year for architects to work on housing blocks on the west London site.
The first phase will include the buildings at the Pimlico Road end as well as the areas of public realm and open space around these buildings and the areas around the former garrison chapel.
Meanwhile, local residents are considering taking legal action against Westminster council amid claims that the departments on Chelsea Bridge Road are too tall. “They told us they would be six storeys high but they’re nine,” said Georgine Thorburn, head of Chelsea Barracks Action Group.
A council spokesman said no storey heights have been specified in the outline application which got the OK this week.
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