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Blair: modern architecture is the key to good business

Prime minister Tony Blair is set to reaffirm New Labour's commitment to high-quality modern architecture and push what he stresses is its fast-growing importance to business in the UK.

Blair is to deliver a three-minute videotaped address at the Stirling Prize ceremony on Saturday night which will stress to the public, clients and end users in the audience and watching on TV the importance of improving buildings.

'There was a time when people thought that all modern architecture was rubbish and basically the only architecture that was good was the one you saw in history books, 'Blair will say.'Now we should be really proud of our heritage - it's fantastic - but what's happening now is we're getting great new buildings and designs and those are happening not just in some of the public buildings but also in businesses and industry.'

Blair will add that design is more important now than it was 'even 10 years ago, ' with British designers winning prizes around the world, but that the subject must be treated more seriously. 'It can have a real difference on the way that people work and live, ' he said. In the interview Blair told Channel 4 that the lesson is that design is 'good for business and the environment' but he refused to nominate his personal favourite for the Stirling.

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