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Foreign Office stands by its Expo 2005 stand


I'm sorry that our UK pavilion in Aichi, Japan, was not to the liking of Mr Bert Carlton-Jones, Canterbury (Letters, AJ 19.5.05).

He should know that his particular needs for an 'exhibition stand' never featured in our client brief, delivered by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, which identified a very specific visitor profile.

Our solution has enjoyed prime-time national TV coverage, increased our visitor numbers from 7,000 to 17,000 over two months and been voted as one of the top five pavilions by readers of a national newspaper.

However, in the context of 'interpretive architecture', the rejection of 'user-friendly practices' in favour of 'architecture as king' does open up serious debate. How does he reflect on the demise of cultural initiatives such as The Earth Centre and The National Centre of Popular Music?

With these projects, highquality architecture does not salvage the inability of clients and project managers to understand the concept of 'narrative environments'.

As interpretive designers, we have completed and been involved with many lotteryfunded projects. Often, we have found that the architectural team may be exposed and marginalised through the inability of procuring bodies to define a holistic and integrated process that will enable long-term viability for these idiosyncratic building types.

Peter Higgins, via email

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