Letter: `Frozen' buildings

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The Independent Culture
Sir: James Fisher's article "What's the storey?" (Review, 15 March) leaves us with a concern that we are in danger of adopting a rather inflexible approach to modern building.

The essence of a "sustainable" Modern design should be that it has a robustness rendering it capable of a degree of adaptation, whilst maintaining its essential integrity. Yet the suggestion seems to be made that buildings such as Isokon and Keeling House must be preserved in their exactly original form, or they will be of no value.

I am sure it is possible to accept a degree of careful adaptation which brings them back into beneficial use. One of the worst things that you can do to a building is to leave it empty, let alone neglected.

If we are to list Modern buildings, then let us interpret that listing in a manner which allows them to adapt and evolve, at reasonable cost, treating them as places to live rather than as museums.

MICHAEL GWILLIAM

Director, Civic Trust

London SW1

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