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a life in architecture adam hart-davis

'I like buildings that lead on to things, ' says Adam Hart-Davis, creator of Local Heroes, the television series based on scientific discoveries. The new visitor centre at Westonbirt Arboretum, near Bristol, proved such a place thanks to Henry Russell, head carpenter on the project. The centre is a traditional oak barn built in a form of cruck construction. 'When I first went there, ' says Hart-Davis, 'it was just a pile of oak trees lying on the ground.' The meeting subsequently led to Russell building several ingenious machines for the recent TV series What The Romans Did For Us.

Another choice is the Clifton suspension bridge (below), which launched the career of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

'Brunel entered the competition when he was convalescing in Bristol after a near-fatal accident in the Thames Tunnel, ' says HartDavis. 'His stay led on to his building the Great Western Railway. He also sorted out the docks and built his first two great ships, the Great Western and the Great Britain.'

Final choice, the odd one out, is the first Eddystone Lighthouse, built by Henry Winstanley in 1698.

'It was the most wonderfully outrageous construction, ' says Hart-Davis. 'No ships were wrecked on Eddystone for five years and then, in the great storm of 26 November 1703, Winstanley was in it when it was swept away. In the morning when the sun came up there was no sign that the lighthouse had ever existed apart from a few bits of iron jutting out of the rock.

What a way to go.'

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