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a life in architecture william pye

As a child the sculptor William Pye built a waterfall in the stream that passes by the three adjoining cottages where he grew up and where he now lives, 'a rather romantic place, but very modest', on the Hog's Back in Surrey.

After his mother died, Pye took over the cottages and built a studio there. It has been a home to three generations of his family and is one of his four chosen buildings. Another, the Pantheon in Rome, with its 'wonderful circle of light in the roof ', reminds Pye of a room first exhibited by the artist James Turrell at the Hayward Gallery and now re-erected in Ireland at Kilfane Glen, in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny. Pye describes it as 'rather like a Friends'meeting room: you sit around on benches inside and look up at a square hole in the ceiling and experience this wonderful sensation of complete peace and calm. You just see this palpable square of colour which turns to a sort of black velvet as the night comes on. Occasionally birds fly over and suddenly you can focus on something above you. It's absolutely marvellous.'

Finally, Pye praises the new sculpture gallery at Roche Court in East Winterslow, Wiltshire, designed by Munkenbeck and Marshall (above). The gallery runs along an ancient wall, connecting the house with the orangery. The garden elevation is entirely glazed but for two tall, thin, pivoting oak doors, a type of structure, says Pye, that is often attempted, not always successfully. 'But this is beautifully done - entirely modern and spare.'

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