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KATHERINE SHONFIELD

To judge by the mobs baying for access to avant-garde architecture all over the capital, Open House weekend has been an even greater achievement than in previous years. Architecture Week got off to a good start last year and promises to spread this year. To the initiated observer, though, these two events would gain immeasurably by being linked. With a bit of rescheduling Architecture Week could be kicked off by two days of Open House, and forge a direct connection between our professional work and our built successes.

But the inextricable link between our products and our practice continues to elude the government and the way it deals with architecture. The current worthwhile attempts by the Department of Culture to look again at the structures that seek to ensure architectural quality, falls at this first post - that so-called Built Heritage is being considered for structural revision separately from the Category Known As Architecture. Thus the discussion of architecture refers rather pitifully to the department's hoped-for role in the promotion of good practice. Inspired no doubt by generations of politicians paying good money to be stamped on by Miss Cane in her various guises, it moots the notion of a body encouraging good architecture which would be funded by its 'beneficiaries'.

The best means for supplying both the benchmarks for architectural quality, and promoting mass enthusiasm for it, is obviously buildings themselves. Let's outlaw the word 'heritage', particularly in its manifestation of 'English Heritage', which sounds like an especially unpleasant offshoot of the British National Party. Successful architecture of all dates is used and delighted in right now. The Department of Culture should make a positive step and get rid of the bureaucratic and destructive separation between architectural activity, past and future.

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