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Jeffery Smith (AJ letters 08.02.07) makes the common mistake of criticising the Prince's Foundation - always an easy target - for supporting tradition as if tradition was just copying the past. Even the most elementary understanding of tradition shows that it is a creative continuity with the past, not a slavish imitation of it.

Tradition is an empirical record of what was worth keeping. In the case of sustainability, traditional design retains the memory of an architecture that evolved when energy was scarce.

Mr Smith would do better to look to traditional design for lessons in sustainability than at an architecture that set out to cast aside the lessons of history in an era of cheap energy. The likelihood is that the drive for sustainable dwellings will lead us precisely to houses with massive wall construction, punctured with tall windows and made of locally sourced materials - sounds traditional to me.

Robert Adam, Robert Adam Architects

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