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A life in architecture

Alexander 'Greek' Thomson brought about a conversion in Deyan Sudjic through his Holmwood Villa, soon to open to the public as part of Glasgow's City of Architecture. Until now Sudjic, director of Glasgow '99 and architecture critic, was associated with an exclusively contemporary view of architecture, but Thomson, 'the Ayatollah of Classicism', broadened his horizons. 'It's very rewarding to find that there are other perspectives and that other periods have such strengths,' he says.

Thomson has also brought home to him the way that a distinctive architectural culture, with a strong sense of place, can flourish as it did in Glasgow during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with each generation of architects passing on a tradition to the next. Looking at Thomson's work reminds Sudjic what it must have been like living in such a society during the Industrial Revolution when Glasgow was producing such an extraordinary outpouring of change that 'it must have seemed like the Bangkok or Shanghai of its time'.

To these cerebral reasons for nominating Thomson, Sudjic adds that he finds something immediately powerful about his work and that there is 'an amazing quality of exploration in his remarkable way of handling space . . . they are very moving buildings.'

As a bank-note enthusiast, Sudjic is particularly pleased that through Glasgow '99 he has been instrumental in persuading the Clydesdale Bank to issue a £20 note with Thomson on it - the only British architect, apart from Wren, to have been granted this honour.

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