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CRITIC'S CHOICE

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REVIEW

In 1950 the Swiss photographer René Burri, then at the very start of his career, went hitchhiking in the south of France 'in search of new impressions'. He landed up in Marseille and there, he says, 'I more or less accidentally stumbled across the enormous shell of Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation. What a revelation! Deeply impressed, I took photographs of the coarse grid pattern on the facades and the dramatic tumultuous rough forms on the roof terrace.'

Burri went on to document both Ronchamp and La Tourette (see above), and took some memorable shots of Corb himself, both on site with his Dominican clients and in the privacy of his apartment at 24, Rue Nungesser-et-Coli, where he sits, totally absorbed, at his desk, a Modulor man gesturing on the adjacent wall. Lars Müller has now published Pour Le Corbusier: René Burri, Juin 1962 (35 euros (£24)), a facsimile of the fold-out album which the photographer once presented to the architect. It would make an attractive gift.

The Corb connection is just one of many in Burri's long career - Picasso and Che Guevara were two of his other famous subjects - and he travelled widely. A retrospective of his work from 1950-2000 opens at Manchester Art Gallery on 23 September ( www. manchestergalleries. org) and there's a smaller Burri show at the Atlas Gallery, London W1, from 19 September to 28 October ( www. atlasgallery. com).

But the most signi-cant new exhibition in London is First and Last Loves: John Betjeman and Architecture, which the Soane Museum stages from 8 September to 30 December.

After Rick Stein's excruciating Betjeman and Me programme on BBC2, things can only look up now in Betjeman's centenary year, and the Soane will be publishing a substantial catalogue, with Alan Powers, Mark Girouard and Gavin Stamp among the contributors.

One could say that, indirectly, Betjeman has been partly responsible for the success of our annual Heritage Open Days, with usually inaccessible properties open brief ly across the country. This year's event runs from 7-10 September ( www. heritageopendays. org. uk), with London Open House on 16-17 September ( www. openhouse. org. uk).

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