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A life in architecture: dickon robinson

In the 30 years Dickon Robinson has been living in the West End,he has become fascinated by the roofscape ofthe city and the way towers interact with each other.From the fire escape ofhis Covent Garden flat he has a fantastic view ofthe Telecommunications Tower (above) and Centre Point,with their contrasting profiles:the Telecom Tower with its cluster ofaerials,swelling and coming to a point;Centre Point symmetrical all the way up and terminating in a flat roof.

Robinson,director ofdevelopment and technical services at the Peabody Trust,is an advocate oftower blocks and wonders how they can be made more acceptable to the public.'What forms and aesthetics can we use to gain support for them?'he asks.Compared with American Tower blocks - such as the Chrysler building - tower design seems to be an art which the British have not fully exploited.The Canary Wharf examples he finds a bit boring:'What about a bit more fun?' he pleads.

The trend in housing is similar. 'Everyone's playing it safe with low-rise suburban models.We've got to get back to those adventurous big forms.The whole point about metropolitan living is to float above the city,to be able to retreat above the hugger mugger ofstreet level,to where it's calmer, quieter,and to be able to look out across the ro oftops.That's the metropolitan experience.'

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