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a life in architecture - tania kovats

For many years, the quarry garden at Belsay Hall (pictured), in Northumbria, has been one of artist Tania Kovats' favourite places. 'There are all sorts of tricks, like planting Scots pines on top of the quarry wall, which makes it seem like a much steeper cliff. And there is this funny relationship between the volume that's missing from the quarry and the house itself - it is as if they are equal, although they are not.'

She is also fond of the Geffrye Museum in east London: 'Each room you step into tells a story of another age.

'I really like walking down the corridor that links them. It is not obvious from the outside what you're going to get on the inside and that makes the whole building feel like a doll's house.'

Recently she visited an ice house in Dinefwr Park, Wales, which she describes as 'a little brick igloo that was grassed up to the roof, almost like a Tellytubby mound. There was a brick egg volume inside, and the brickwork was extremely complex.'

She finds the Napoleonic forts in the Solent equally intriguing as structures.

One, St Helen's, can only be reached a few times every year.

'You've just got long enough to walk out to it and come straight back again, 'Kovats says. 'I've only done it once. It was like something out of Virginia Woolf 's To the Lighthouse: at last I had done it.

'It is one of my favourite buildings, even though it is just this lump of brick and concrete out in the middle of the sea.'

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