Letter: Blast in the new millennium

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The Independent Online
Sir: Architects and architectural correspondents do not seem to judge a building by whether it works but according to some curious theology preached only by architects, and incomprehensible to the rest of us who use buildings.

Jonathan Glancey ("A comprehensive cock-up", 10 January) called for the preservation of a building that clearly does not work, the Pimlico School, and rubbished one that does work, Richmond Riverside ("Tear down terraces, shopping centres, the lot", 10 January).

The glass school, although visually exciting, is on Glancey's own admission too hot or too cold, and costs pounds 370,000 a year to maintain. It does not work.

Richmond Riverside, whatever one may think of "faux Georgian" as a style, attracts many more people to use its pubs and stroll along the Thames than does, for instance, the terrace in front of the Festival Hall. It works for both passers-by and occupants. What more can be asked of a building?

But Jonathan Glancey and his peers are only interested in style, not content. He should ask the users why some buildings work and some don't. He might be shaken by their replies into a better understanding of what architecture is about.


London SW20