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Don't be blinded by signature architects


Last week you published an extract from my letter which drew attention to the poor quality of Frank Gehry's proposals for the seafront at Hove.

I was disappointed by the way in which the letter was edited for it completely cut out two crucial points. First, it noted the power of star architects to cause people to suspend their critical faculties, as illustrated by Deyan Sudjic's over-the-top report 'Hove springs eternal' (The Observer, 11.5.03).

In addition, my letter acknowledged that the Bilbao Guggenheim is a great building and that its effects on that city are remarkable, but made a plea that people should not be fooled into thinking that Hove could buy the 'Bilbao effect' off the shelf. In fact, the Gehry proposals appear to be merely a cynical and poorly executed attempt to get a hugely overscaled development through planning by dressing them in the garb of a signature architect.

Malcolm Birks, London E2

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