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EVEN IF THE PRESENTATION CAN FALL FLAT

LETTERS

Having just visited the 'Eric Lyons and Span' exhibition at the RIBA, the first impression is, as your reviewer Robert Harbison remarked, one of unrelieved atness.

Adding models is perhaps not appropriate given that the houses are not about architecture-as-object and the housing layouts are pretty two-dimensional - some of them improved latterly by the maturing of the landscape. But the Architectural Review's Emerging Architecture exhibition in the Florence Hall, all on screens, shows how easy it is to animate a space.

More important is that, more than many other architects, Lyons' Span housing is a relatively clear-cut experiment, a proposition about appropriate (middle-class) 'sociable', as distinct from social, housing. There has been some examination of the housing in use, but surely what this exhibition should have included is the results and conclusions of this experiment, specially commissioned if necessary. Tim Crocker's photographs are very welcome but not really enough.

We know it is difficult to revisit a project - not only in terms of paying for the research, but in terms of who will give access and who is prepared to allow the bad news to be published with the good.

But here at the RIBA surely was a golden opportunity to focus on Span's effectiveness, with such personal sensitivities likely to be long past.

Bernard Key, by email

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