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Gonged off


Knowledgeable readers have added two comments to news of Peter Cook's happy election as a member of the Royal Academy. He is the first Bartlett Professor of Architecture to become an academician since the great, lamented Sir Albert Richardson of Bracken House fame, and Cookie is, apparently, the only architect member of the RA who does not have a gong of some sort. Perhaps this augurs his ascent to become a Companion of Honour, that wonderful faculty of the honours system which bestows enormous prestige - Sir Hugh Casson had to put CH before his KCVO - but without lending a handle, making it appeal even to ex-union supremo Jack Jones, who managed to accept it although an avowed enemy of honours in general.

Come to that, it might at last be the way of granting a suitable honour to those doyens of the profession, Peter Ahrends and Cedric Price, who surely deserve something, but would not want a normal honour. However, unlike creative artists such as Henry Moore, Benjamin Britten, Philip Larkin and Anthony Powell, who were all unknighted CHs, architects like Philip Powell, Denys Lasdun and John Summerson were all 'Sir'. Smart money for the next architect CH, then, is Sir Richard MacCormac.

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