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a life in architecture - lisa jardine

Her fingers are still tingling from contact with Sir Christopher Wren's original drawings a few hours earlier - 'Not black and white as you usually see them reproduced, they're brown pen on cream paper, with colour washes.'

The academic and writer Lisa Jardine is researching a biography on Sir Christopher Wren and although she has not chosen to discuss one of his buildings, looking at his work reminds her of what she finds most exciting about architecture. 'It's that tight liaison between functionality and form.'

A leap of 300 years brings Jardine to a project as yet unbuilt:

Libeskind's Spiral extension to the V&A (pictured). It exemplifies her passion for 'spaces that build onto the existing culture and expand it into something more'. Foster's Reichstag and IM Pei's Louvre Pyramid are examples.

Libeskind's work at the Jewish Museum in Berlin and at the V&A 'is right at the limit, it's a hope for the future in the sense that we no longer feel rectilinear forms can contain us - we're asking for more'.

Jardine visited the Jewish Museum ('a wonderful fractal') before it was finished.There, as in London, 'the problem for Libeskind was that of fitting the old and the new in almost suffocating proximity, and giving you spaces and vistas which are absolutely of the 21st century'.

Will it be functional, the way that Wren's buildings are? Jardine has no doubt that it will - 'that's why he's such a genius'.

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