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a life in architecture

Ruins and buildings where nature exerts a strong presence have always fascinated David Green, recently appointed director of the British Council. Green had planned to study architecture at York University but switched to education following his experience as a vso volunteer in Asia. It was during this period that he first visited Humayun's tomb, the sixteenth-century Mughal citadel to the Emperor Hamayun in Delhi. It is surrounded by a square garden and is a popular place with the Indians for weekend picnics. Green often sketches buildings when he travels and has drawn this monument (pictured) with its 'beautiful proportions and long, gracious arches' on every visit he has made to Delhi.

The ruined thirteenth-century temples of Angkor, which lie in the middle of the jungle in north-west Cambodia, made a great impact on Green during his years of travelling as director of vso. He cites Ta Prohm as his favourite Khmer temple; the encroaching forest entwines itself among the majestic ruins. 'There is a reconciliation,' says Green. 'The trees have come to support the buildings and the two co-exist.'

The National Theatre on London's South Bank is one of Green's favourite modern buildings. He likes the 'sculptural blocks of concrete which make up the exterior and the variety of spaces inside.' Unlike his solitary experience of many favourite monuments, this is a place David Green can enjoy with others.

designed by Denys Lasdun and completed in 1976,

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