a life in architecture gyles brandreth
Writer and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth loves domestic Victorian and Tudor architecture, while also being passionate about seaside piers and theatres. He claims his most exciting architectural experience was a recent visit to Palladio's exquisite Teatro Olimpico (1580-85) in Vicenza. It is the oldest surviving indoor theatre in the world, and still has its street-scene stage-set by Scamozzi, receding in perspective.
Victorian domestic is typified by his own house near London's Hammersmith Bridge. He feels it expresses 'things wholly English and wholly predictable - a potent mixture of emotion and nostalgia, what T S Eliot calls 'the security of known relationships''.
His idea of domestic Tudor is represented by a house in Stratford-upon-Avon, once owned by the Brandreths and, before that, supposedly by Henry VIII. It is now a teddy bear museum.
Extremely hard-working, Brandreth feels the workplace is important. He spends a lot of time at 200 Gray's Inn Road, Foster's ITN headquarters (above). 'Going there feels like an event. The huge glass atrium and the unapologetic modernity of the building make you feel you're crossing a bridge into a new kingdom.'
If a building made John Betjeman's heart miss a beat, it would probably do the same for Brandreth's. An example? Sir Ninian Comper's St Cyprian's Church, Clarence Gate. 'Inside it is high camp and glorious.'