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A life in architecture

Photographer Richard Bryant has a habit of falling in love with buildings he photographs, like the Gipsoteca at the Canova Museum in Possagno, by Carlo Scarpa, which combines intense detailing with emotional warmth. Also, despite his preference for Minimalism, Bryant was bowled over by his first sight of Stirling's Staatsgalerie. But his most memorable encounter was in Mexico in the late 1980s with a tiny jungle house by Sergio Puente and Ada Dewes (above). It has one adobe wall with two concrete shelf-like floor projections; the top floor is open to the elements, the two lower floors are surrounded by a transparent mesh screen. A mature tree grows around and through the house. While Richard and his wife Lynne were photographing the house, the hotel they were staying in accidentally hired their room out to other visitors. In desperation the Bryants phoned Puente and Dewes who nobly decamped, giving them the use of their house. Bryant remembers that night vividly: 'It got very cold and we slept under piles of rugs and furs. When we woke up in the morning the mist of the jungle was rolling through the room - it was magical.'

There are many other buildings for Bryant - Bilbao ('but everyone will mention that') and the house Seth Stein designed for himself: 'If I could own any house in the world I would be tempted by that.' Then he remembers another: 'Oh, the Soane Museum . . .'

Deborah Singmaster

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