HC Deb 10 December 1957 vol 579 cc1050-1
11. Mr. Vane

asked the Minister of Works what plans he has for rebuilding on the site of the old British Embassy in Rome near the Porta Pia; and whether he has chosen an architect.

Mr. Molson

Providing the Italian authorities agree, I propose to sell about half of the site and erect Embassy offices on the remainder. I am not yet able to make a statement about the appointment of an architect.

Mr. Vane

Is my right hon. Friend aware that it is not every day that a British architect has the chance of designing a building in Rome alongside a work by Michelangelo? Does he not consider that this is a case for a very special competition?

Mr. Molson

I am fully aware of the importance of this site and of the great opportunity that it provides for the erection of a worthy building. It is for that reason that I am not yet in a position to name an architect for appointment for this job. I am doubtful about holding a competition, since that is not popular with architects, as was found in the case of the Nash Terraces.

Mr. Shinwell

From where will the right hon. Gentleman get the money for this purpose? He could not find the money to remove the unsightly deep shelters.

Mr. Molson

If the right hon. Gentleman had listened to my original Answer, he would be aware that I was proposing to sell half of the site, and with the proceeds of that sale I hope to be able to pay for the erection of a building on the other half.