Letter: A library of quoted styles

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The Independent Online
Sir: In calling the British Library "the Sidney Opera House of libraries" ("Opening chapter", 4 July), Nonie Niesewand is misinformed. Architecturally, the two buildings share nothing of value.

Jorn Utzon's masterpiece was original from its core, as his sparse competition sketches made clear in 1957. Like Hans Scharoun's Philharmonia and Alvar Aalto's Finlandia Hall, it stands as one of few major monuments of the freethinking wing of Modernism.

Conversely, Colin St John Wilson openly states: "This is where I say my thanks", to those he conducts round his library. And he is correct, for almost every detail has been quoted from modern masters he admires, making the whole just a revivalist's fruit salad, the fruits being canned.

Whereas Utzon is a true Modernist, Wilson has merely followed Post-modernism, "that great black hole into which Modernism fell".

PATRICK HODGKINSON

Bath

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