Letter: 'House' should be demolished

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Sir: I spent an hour with Rachel Whiteread's House in Bow the other day, and found it every bit as impressive as press coverage had led me to expect. The campaign for its preservation is understandable, but perhaps I may contribute a dissenting note.

Much of its impact, its ability to move and provoke, comes from the very fact of its transitory nature: a heroic idea made real for a brief instant to challenge values and perceptions. Were it to be 'saved' its nature would change completely, both psychologically and physically.

House has probably not been built to last and would need strengthening and continual conservation. It would have to be protected against vandals and graffiti- artists. Considerations of public safety and civic aesthetics would lead to the manicuring of the site, the erection of a substantial surrounding fence, the posting of special bye-laws. Before long, all that would be left would be a bizarre, dated, pointless, rather charming artefact.

Rachel Whiteread's masterpiece should survive in documentation and in the memories of those who saw it in its short physical life - as, for example, is the case with Christo's projects. Wouldn't it be nice were the demolition of House to be used as an excuse for fireworks and a party in the little park for the kids of the neighbourhood; perhaps the generous sponsors of the project might consider signing off their involvement in this


Yours sincerely,




15 November