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a life in architecture baroness blackstone

Would it be cheating, asks Baroness Blackstone, the minister of state for education and employment, if she were to choose a view as her first choice, rather than a building? The view she has in mind is that of the north bank of the Thames as you cross Waterloo Bridge. 'I think it shows more than almost any other view in London the amazing richness, range and diversity of London's architecture.

It's wonderful in the early morning light; it's marvellous at sunset, and also in the dark. You see Somerset House, the Savoy and then on down to the Lubianka-like Ministry of Defence. It is the most extraordinary and wonderful view.'

Her second choice, Durham Cathedral (above), reflects her love of history and interest in all things Medieval - 'the greatest Norman building in Britain and wonderful when seen from a distance'.Sombre, solid and moving are the adjectives she uses to describe it.

Her third choice surely reveals some of the tensions of her job. A frequent traveller, she thinks Lord Foster's Stansted 'one of the best airport buildings in the world'. She admires the elegant sweep of glass and steel that greets you as you approach, she likes the inside, too, and she particularly appreciates the fact that it is 'a building that works'. Baroness Blackstone believes that modern architects have an obligation to produce designs that are userfriendly.

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