Calvin Po

I’m not convinced Thomas Heatherwick is the best person to be discussing boring buildings

The designer completely ignores the power of the actual boring stuff in his new radio series, including the stifling nature of the planning system

Thomas Heatherwick poses in front of The Vessel in New York, his disastrous, extravagantly pointless 16-storey staircase to nowhere that had to be closed after it became a suicide hotspot. Photo: Lev Radin / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

Architects are often snobby about – and no doubt jealous of – the designer Thomas Heatherwick, who isn’t an actual architect yet still manages to wangle important building commissions. And he knows this. In his documentary for BBC Radio 4, Building Soul, where he examines what he calls the ‘blandemic’ in today’s architecture, he asks to interview fellow Spectator writer Jonathan Meades, who responds: ‘The last person who should be doing a series on urbanism is a designer.’

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