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Architecturerss

At least Prince Charles should be happy with the roof of the new Design Museum in Holland Park

The new Design Museum: Prince Charles will prefer it. But should we?

2 March 2013

Twenty-five years ago I went to St James’s Palace to ask the Prince of Wales if he would open the new Design Museum. Before us was the model of the… Read more

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The shape of things to come

31 December 2011
Futurescapes: Designers for Tomorrow’s Outdoor Spaces Tim Richardson

Thames & Hudson, pp.351, 24.95

Drawing for Landscape Architecture: Sketch to Screen to Site Edward Hutchison

Thames & Hudson, pp.240, 29.95

I opened Futurescapes with anticipation, knowing Tim Richardson to be a forceful commentator, and landscape architects to be in dire need of an articulate champion. The mixed marriage of ‘landscape’… Read more

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Amazing grace

3 December 2011
Downside Abbey: An Architectural History edited by Dom Aidan Bellenger

Merrell, pp.224, 45

It was in 1814 that the Benedictine monks arrived in Stratton-on-the-Fosse in Somerset from Douai in Flanders where, in 1606, they had established an exiled, but English, monastic house. They… Read more

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Rather in the lurch

9 April 2011
The Irish Country House the Knight of Glin and James Peill, with photographs by James Fennell

Thames & Hudson, pp.192, 24.95

The Country House Revealed: A Secret History of the British Ancestral Home Dan Cruickshank

BBC Books, pp.288, 25

Will it ever end? The romantic interest in the architecture, history and life lived in the country house is as alive today as it was in 1978, when Mark Girouard… Read more

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Vertically challenged

27 November 2010

St Paul’s Cathedral is quite rightly something of a national obsession. No other building has protected ‘view corridors’ as a result of legislation in 1935, when new building regulations allowed… Read more

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Murder in Madison Square Garden

13 November 2010
Triumvirate Mosette Broderick

Alfred A. Knopf, pp.$40, 640

In Victorian and Edwardian England architects did not get themselves murdered. They weren’t playboys, they didn’t have it off with their clients’ wives, they were in no way fashionable even… Read more

Oh Brother, where art thou?

25 September 2010
The Buildings of England: Hampshire (Winchester and the North) Michael Bullen, John Crook, Rodney Hubbock and Nikolaus Pevsner

Yale, pp.807, 35

Benjamin Franklin had this ambition for his body: that after his death it should be reissued ‘in a new and more beautiful edition, corrected and amended by the author’. Benjamin… Read more

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In and out of favour in Iraq

25 September 2010
Late for Tea at the Deer Palace Tamara Chalabi

Harper Press, pp.414, 25

Nowadays the TV cameras make Baghdad look like a suburban car park, and for Tamara Chalabi, raised in England and Beirut on memories of pre-Saddam Iraq, the first encounter in… Read more

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Built for eternity

14 August 2010
The Escorial: Art and Power in the Renaissance Henry Kamen

Yale, pp.291, 25

The Escorial, as a monastery and a royal palace, was the brain child of Philip II of Spain. Built in the latter half of the 16th century, about 30 miles… Read more

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Secrets and silences

30 June 2010
Hancox: A House and A Family Charlotte Moore

Viking, pp.484, 20

Charlotte Moore’s family have lived at Hancox on the Sussex Weald for well over a century. Charlotte Moore’s family have lived at Hancox on the Sussex Weald for well over… Read more

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The pride of the Sackvilles

23 June 2010
Inheritance Robert Sackville-West

Bloomsbury, pp.293, 20

Knole is a country house the size of a small village in the Kent countryside. For the past 400 years it has been inhabited by 13 generations of a single… Read more

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Flights of futuristic fantasy

16 June 2010
Norman Foster: A Life in Architecture Deyan Sudjic

Weidenfeld, pp.308, 20

The Great Court of the British Museum is a good place to start. Norman Foster brought light into the wonderfully elegant and inspiring glazed space at the heart of the… Read more

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Array of luminaries

27 January 2010
Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society Bill Bryson (editor)

Harper Press, pp.490, 25

In November 1660, on a damp night at Gresham College in London, a young shaver named Christopher Wren gave a lecture on astronomy. In the clearly appreciative audience were 12… Read more

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A dream made concrete

6 January 2010
Sydney Opera House: A Tribute to J Katarina Stübe and Jan Utzon

Reveal Books, pp.183, 45

You are celebrated as the architect of one of the most famous buildings in the world, now in your late eighties and living quietly in your home outside Copenhagen. One… Read more

Repeat that, repeat

9 December 2009
The Infinity of Lists Umberto Eco

Maclehose Press, pp.408, 35

When the Louvre invited me to organise for the whole of November 2009 a series of conferences, exhibitions, public readings, concerts, film projections and the like on the subject of… Read more

Not so serene

9 September 2009
Venice, Pure City Peter Ackroyd

Chatto & Windus, pp.387, 25

Is there anything original left to say about Venice? Probably not, but that doesn’t stop the books from coming, tied in, as they mostly now are, with a television series.… Read more

Shrine of a connoisseur

7 April 2009
Sir John Soane’s Museum, London Tim Knox

Merrell, pp.160, 24.95

Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, by Tim Knox, photographs by Derry Moore Sir John Soane’s Museum is very nearly a folly — a mad grotto in the midst of Georgian… Read more

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Architect of his own misfortune

4 March 2009
The Women T. C. Boyle

Bloomsbury, pp.451, 12.99

Tom Coraghessan Boyle, in some 20 books, has energetically demon- strated his enthusiasm for turning the bio- graphies of figures from early 20th-century American life into quasi-historical fiction. After writing… Read more

Boldly for restoration

10 December 2008
Wales Simon Jenkins

Allen Lane, pp.292, 25

Wales, by Simon Jenkins Last year, having been to Scotland, I called on the mother of an old friend. Mrs Molly Jones of Carmarthen, I found to my great surprise,… Read more

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At Home in Turkey

3 December 2008
At Home in Turkey Solvi dos Santos and Berrin Torolsan

Thames & Hudson, pp.192, 24.95

If you can’t afford the airfare you might take this delicious guided tour instead. Exploring some of the best contemporary Turkish houses (or caves), the photographer, Solvi dos Santos, divides… Read more

Differences and similarities

3 December 2008
West Workroom towards a new sobriety in architecture theory + practice Paolo Conrad-Bercah+w office (including contributions from Daniel Sherer, Pierluigi Panza and George Baird)

Charta Books Ltd, New York Edizioni, Charta, Milan, US$ 45/ 36 Euros

West Workroom towards a new sobriety in architecture theory + practice, by Paolo Conrad-Bercah+w office (including contributions from Daniel Sherer, Pierluigi Panza and George Baird) ‘This is not a book….’… Read more