a life in architecture: simon singh
Simon Singh, author of the bestselling Fermat's Last Theorem and The Code Book, grew up in Wellington, Somerset, and his first choice is the local Wellington Memorial. According to Singh the duke's connection with the town was negligible; he believes 'he only visited once to do his duty'.
The 53m obelisk sits on the highest hill in the area, looming over the Black Downs. As a boy, Singh often walked the mile and a half up the hill, and climbed the memorial.
'It had no windows or lighting, you had to take a torch and feel your way up. And then there were spectacular views through openings at the top, you could see out to the Bristol Channel.'
His second choice, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, near the Indian-Pakistan border, has a great sentimental attraction for him, coming from a Sikh family: 'It is the place Sikhs go back to'.
Entering from the noisy, crowded streets of the town is like escaping into a separate walled city, entirely made of white marble. The temple sits in the middle of a lake, its top half gilded in gold, the lower part in marble.Singh finds it 'absolutely dazzling. . . like a 360-degree solar reflector.'
His final choice is Terry Farrell's MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall Bridge, London. 'I think it looks like a fantastic spy building, with all those twiddly bits at the top - radar and antennae. It's saying, 'I want to be in the next James Bond film' and sure enough, it was.'