architecture: annexe

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The Independent Culture
Wherever one hears of a new cultural project - museum, opera house, science centre - those promoting it talk in hushed tones about lottery funding. The secret to getting big money is, first, to be able to influence the committees that decide where millennium money is going. If not, promoters face what amounts to a... lottery. The second part of the secret is to have a good scheme by a good architect on board. This does not have to be a famous name: a pounds 28m arts centre for Milton Keynes has just been awarded pounds 19.6m. The design is by Blonski Heard.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, however, is going down the big-name route with a proposed pounds 42m extension planned for its Boilerhouse Yard; the V&A's shortlist includes Sir Norman Foster, Nicholas Grimshaw, Michael Hopkins, Zaha Hadid and Daniel Libeskind, architect of the up-and-coming and extremely dramatic Jewish Museum in Berlin. The extension will house galleries, an education centre and an "orientation facility", whatever that is.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Millennium Commission might consider a retro-active payment to Simon and Maureen Ormerod, the Cornish couple who built their own "super energy-efficient and sustainable" house underground in a former quarry in Wadebridge. North Cornwall County Council has sensibly granted the pounds 20,000 house retrospective planning permission. As a healthy antidote to the Neo-Geo and Joke Oak rubbish that will be built across Britain well into the next millennium, the Ormerod's house takes some beating. Now, what about burying every British superstore underground as a millennium project: that would be worth paying for.

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