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A life in architecture

Marco Goldschmied

As an infant Marco Goldschmied, the new president of the riba, lived in the house on Bankside from which, according to legend, Sir Christopher Wren watched the building of St Paul's. Later the family moved to Italy and Goldschmied remembers being taken to political rallies in front of Milan Cathedral. His local swimming pool was at Castle Miramare outside Trieste, built in 1856 for the Archduke Maximillian of Austria. Places such as these, with emotional connections, spring to his mind as readily as breath-taking examples of great architecture, and he laughs at the mention of the Duomo in Milan: if he were selecting a cathedral on merit, it would be something else - Lincoln, perhaps.

Choosing individual buildings, he recalls his second year at the Architectural Association, when Stirling and Gowan came and lectured on their Engineering Building at Leicester University. 'You knew there was something special there,' he says, 'it was a ground-breaking building.' The other building that contends for top place on his list is Frank Lloyd Wright's Johnson Wax Administration Building (shown). He was impressed by its 'timeless quality' and found it 'incredibly daring.' He also mentions, for its curiosity value, the Soane Museum. As an impressionable student from a non-architectural background he was amazed 'that someone had had the patience and resources to put it all together.'

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