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a life in architecture

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samantha hardingham

As a child of 11, to be given a bedroom with a chute that jettisoned you straight into a pool seemed like heaven. 'I thought - this is just fantastic,' says architectural writer Samantha Hardingham of an Indian holiday in Le Corbusier's Sarabhai house in Ahmedabad. The house made a lasting impression. It was the first Modernist building she'd been in and what amazed her most was the sense of being inside and outside at the same time.

Hardingham treasures another childhood memory of Piazza Maggiore in Bologna where her mother used to take her for the annual bookfair. They stayed in a hotel in the piazza, where the numbers and hands of the enormous clock tower appeared to have been carved into its face, and where you had to step up on to the busy piazza, making it seem like the centre of the universe.

Studying architecture at the aa, Hardingham found most of the younger tutors to be working with Bernard Tschumi at Parc de la Villette in Paris (above). 'It was the only deconstructionist project being built at the time. It was very current, very relevant.' She saw it evolve from drawings to completion and considers it an excellent public space. This interest in fun public spaces is fitting for one who, with husband Will McLean, runs three very popular minimalist London cafes.

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