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BOOK

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REVIEW

Michael Hopkins By Cristina Donati.Skira, 2006. £17.95

Essentially this is a catalogue of around 50 projects, beginning with the Hopkins House of 1975-76 and finishing with schemes still in progress. There is some attempt at a critical framework - grouping projects into the decade of High Tech followed by a 'reconciliation with history' period culminating in Glyndebourne. After that, projects are just listed by type: workplaces, recreation, etc.

Each has around a page of descriptive text, several good photographs and occasional drawings, all well reproduced.

Donati's brief opening essay is not sure-footed, in the first three pages fluffing the authorship of IBM North Harbour and beginning a series of large claims for Hopkins in world architecture such as that he 'inaugurated the second phase of the Modern Movement'. Not Hopkins' fault of course, but not helped by the focus being on the man rather than the practice. (Colin Davies' two volumes of collected Hopkins works - to 2001 so far - have more perspective. ) One emergent trend it would have been useful to explore is how the practice is dealing with the increasing size of projects it now tackles. The feel of the process of making buildings has been very much part of Hopkins' architecture - they are crafted objects as well as functioning buildings. Does this scale up? In some of the practice's recent larger buildings, such as Wellcome and Evelina, the making has lost some of its personality. Where next?

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