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a life in architecture

genista mcIntosh

The view from Genista McIntosh's office at the National Theatre is quite spectacular, one of its many attractions being Somerset House, directly opposite on the north bank of the Thames.

Somerset House has been shrouded in scaffolding for most of the time that McIntosh, executive director of the theatre, has been in this office.Last year it was unveiled in its newly restored condition.

'I love the way elements of modernity have been elegantly introduced without compromising the integrity of this beautiful 18th century building, 'says McIntosh.

'It's a great example of minimalist intervention, resulting in the original building looking apparently untouched.'

Her second choice is IM Pei's Pyramid at the Louvre (below).

'The extraordinary thing about this intervention is that it is so bold and not at all minimalist - the brilliance of the Pyramid is that it complements the original building so beautifully in some mysterious way that I don't understand.Both these buildings allow all kinds of public use of the space that wasn't possible before.'

Her third choice is the 1930s Isokon flats in Hampstead, designed by Wells Coates.'The house I live in close by is a funny, diluted version of the same thing, with very clean Art Deco lines, very simple statements. It's tremendously satisfying.

'The flats are derelict, although I think people still live there.

Occasionally windows open and shut and sometimes you see washing.'

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