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Now the time is right to reclaim our role as design leaders

In his final column, Patrick Lynch muses on wisdom and windows

For 48, issues I’ve told you what I think is right and wrong, good or bad about architecture. A year is a long time, it seems. A great deal has changed in the world, and architecture again appears part of a wider discussion than the narrow focus upon style that has dogged us for the past few decades.

I agreed to write this column because the AJ’s editor, Kieran Long, knew the importance of good architectural writing. I was flattered he thought I might be able to deliver it. Behind Kieran’s brief, for me, was the idea that the general architect is neither a cynic nor a fool, despite what some publications seem to assume. We’re all prone to cynicism and foolishness some of the time, of course, but that isn’t what you find at the heart of good architecture.

In the past year or so, David Chipperfield finally won the Stirling Prize 2007 and lvaro Siza the RIBA Gold Medal 2008, making up for years of neglect that reflected badly upon British architecture and offering hope to those of us for whom Modernism has moved on. Models are ways of imagining architecture, but the reality of architecture lies in buildings. Good architecture teaches us to feel and understand it fundamentally as built.

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