US architecture practice Jerde has drawn the ire of Coventry residents again, this time with its design for a £7 million revamp of Broadgate
In 2009 the practice provoked controversy with its masterplan for a £1 billion redevelopment of the city, featuring proposals including an egg-shaped library.
Coventry-based landscape architect Simon Watkins has now written an open letter to the Coventry Telegraph criticising the latest plans.
He said: “The proposals do nothing to create a unique sense of place. The grid form and regularly spaced trees are ubiquitous aspects of hundreds of public places worldwide.”
Watkins questioned the use of granite, which is not local to Coventry, the seating arrangements, and the decision to ban vehicles from the area.
Jerde’s images of the proposals has also been criticised on the city council’s Flickr stream, with one commentator describing the design as “horrible, unimaginative and cheap looking”.
But council leader John Mutton defended the proposals: “I believe our plan for Broadgate is one that will stand the test of time,” he said. “We haven’t set out to create a ’love it or loathe it’ architectural fashion statement but have spoken and listened to local people who have had the chance to input into the plans in a very real way.
“The grid format we’ve come up with is timeless and will be a great setting for us to fill the space with life.
“We asked local people about shared spaces and they were clear that the space should be traffic free; so it will be. However the construction will ensure that if we ever need to allow traffic in, day or night, it will be easy for us to do so without much further work.”
The proposals were approved by city councillors in January. Jerde was unavailable for comment.