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a life in architecture

Ian Rickson, artistic director of the re-opened Royal Court Theatre, recalls being taken as a five-year-old to the Horniman Museum, in South London (above). 'I have an almost Proustian memory of it and I see it like a child's drawing.' Designed by CH Townsend, it was completed in 1901, at the time of the Arts and Crafts Movement, a period Rickson feels particularly nostalgic about.

'The buildings were for the education of everyone. The museum is optimistic and it roots me back to the child that I then was.' Rickson, who still lives in the area, often makes a detour which will take him past the museum.

His second choice is contemporary: the Jubilee Line Extension stations. He adores the beautiful blue glass at North Greenwich, like a blue from the palette of Anish Kapoor. 'We usually feel embarrassed about our public transport but travelling on the jle is a real event.'

Modestly he introduces 'his' theatre, the Royal Court. He is delighted with the refurbishment by Haworth Tompkins: 'It's mindful of the building's past, yet it feels like a contemporary theatre.' Sitting in his office he can see 'the old stairwell, concrete ceiling and reclaimed timber floor, a great mixture of the past and the future.' Rickson was associate director when the lottery bid was awarded, and he cherishes his continuous involvement in the redesign. 'The architect Steve Tompkins taught me that buildings are living, breathing, evolving things.'

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