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briefing notes: john cooper

When and where were you born?

Bury, Lancashire,1951.

What is your favourite building?

Jesse Hartley's Albert Dock, pre-conversion. Wonderfully resourceful architecture that had decayed into strongly evocative archaeology.

What is your favourite restaurant/meal?

Stephen Bull, Crawford Street,1989.Everything the guy cooked that night worked.We fell silent and chewed.

What vehicle(s) do you own?

None. I have a fear of directing quickly moving objects.

What is your favourite film?

Dr Strangelove.

What is your favourite book?

Vanity Fair.

What is your favourite 'design classic'?

Aalto's three-legged stool.Simple, useful, beautiful and doesn't shout.

What is the worst building you've ever seen and why?

Holiday Inn, Kings Cross Road, London.There are obviously worse buildings around, but there is something about its crass vulgarity that never fails to annoy.

Who or what is your biggest architectural influence?

Louis Kahn.As the great exemplary architects recede into history, his work appears ever more relevant.

Who is the most talented architect you've worked with?

Too many to list.

If you hadn't been an architect, what would you have been?

A very bad actor.

What would your advice be to architectural students?

Look and learn.

What would your motto be?

Mottos are like verbal tattoos - to be avoided.

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