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Hated past may still be our beloved future


It is interesting to compare the difference in approach between 1672 and 2005. In your article on St Mary Aldermary (AJ 24.2.05), you point out how Christopher Wren chose to reconstruct in Gothic to blend in with the surviving parts. CF Møller clearly sees the rundbogenstil of the Natural History Museum as an embarrassment that regrettably cannot be knocked down, but at least the practice can ensure its extension does its damnedest to disassociate itself from its predecessor.

Perhaps architects of today wouldn't be so cavalier if they only remembered that history tends to be cyclic, and that the detested styles of the past may also be the styles of the future.

Perhaps they will build a fullblooded Gothic wing on to the Hammersmith Ark, ruin the setting of the 'gherkin' by surrounding it with Baroque offices, or think they are being conscientious when they save the facade of Lloyd's of London, while ripping out its guts and building in a suite of Adam-esque interiors.

Martin Choules, via email

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