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X marks the spot for row; Danish architects inmuseumlegal t.


A LEGAL row has hit the design rights for the new pounds 68m Museum of Liverpool.

The waterfront building, a key project of Capital of Culture year, could be dragged into a courtroom battle over who owns the copyright in its distinctive X-wing design.

Danish architects 3XN were dropped from the project towards the end of last year.

But their principal architect Kim Nielsen said: "We are seeking legal advice for breach of copyright."

Construction of themuseumis continuing apace on the city's Unesco world heritage site, with the building based almost solely on 3XN's sculptured platforms concept.

The only aspects to have changed so far are the cladding material, the toilets and the access ramps.

3XN say they are also looking into whether or not they can stop current lead architects Manchester-based AEW "meddling" with their distinctive X-wing designs.

They also claim NationalMuseums Liverpool, who are managing the Mann Island project, have withheld outstanding payments for some of theirwork.

But NML said there were "no grounds" for any claim.

The museum, which will be completed by 2010, is being built where the scrapped Fourth Grace would have stood.

Mr Nielsen, 3XN's founder, has been in discussions with lawyers for a month.He said: "They are changing the project in some ways. It's not according to our design, the ramps at the end of the building and the cladding, for example.

"But they are still making it and it's still our design. We are seeing if they are allowed to do anything with our design. It's hard to say more without more legal advice."

A spokesperson for NML said: "We are very happy with the way the project is proceeding.

"We have made the right decisions to protect the scheme and ensure its success."

Copenhagen-based 3XN were dropped from the project in mid-November after falling out with both NMLandAEW.

The Manchester practice had been hired to help 3XN navigate their way through building regulations.

AEW admit their relationship with 3XN had "cooled off" since the split, but they defend their conduct in the deal. They say their role was as "troubleshooter" for the Danes.
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 21, 2008
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