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Healthy rivalry


The constructive rivalry between the AA and the Bartlett schools continues apace, with their summer shows and the events surrounding them seeming to improve with each passing year. Both have terrific work, both had terrific parties.

Mohsen Mostafavi was justifiably delighted with the AA's magnificent catalogue produced at very short notice, while the Bartlett introduced an excellent evening for practice movers and shakers to examine the show in a more reflective atmosphere. Even associated events brought in the audiences. Peter Cook introduced a lecture by Iain Borden and Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, with whom he has just collaborated to produce a book about the practice and its way of doing things. (The book, Manual, is published next week. ) Cook, who will be in conversation with Zaha Hadid at the Serpentine Gallery's Niemeyer pavilion tomorrow night, made some thoughtful comments on the difference between 'makers' and 'positioners' in architecture, and practitioners who didn't do 'theory theory', but 'architecture stuff people who build a lot can still have theories, for example about what ought to matter'.

Professor Borden, quizzed about the idea of 'surface' in the Jeremy Bentham pub afterwards, opined that 'surface is a sort of existential mirror'. I wonder if this Lefebvrian thought has made it into the book?

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