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Level field


The RIBA played host to Radio 4's Any Questions last Friday evening, with several architects dotted around the packed Jarvis Hall audience, including ex-AQ panellist Paul Hyett. Hyett hosted an entertaining drink-up for the guests in his presidential offices after the audience went home, making a speech about all the pictures which line his walls, donated by friends and colleagues in the profession. But Astragal's eye was caught by one he didn't mention: a provocative, semi-nude figure on what looked like a swing which apparently comes from Gabriele Bramante . . . As to the show, Astragal enjoyed the spirited contributions from Peter Oborne, Bernard Jenkin, Shirley Williams, and 30-year-old health minister David Lammy. But we can also bring you the one unbroadcast question which the production team simply used to test levels - a shame. It was: which buildings would the panel demolish?

Oborne, political editor of The Spectator and a Daily Mail columnist, responded that he'd like to see the end of Centre Point (cue a few groans), the Millennium Dome, and Stirling's History Faculty at Cambridge. Jenkin thought the faculty was already falling down, and cited 'a multi-storey car park in Portsmouth'. 'It is a monstrous carbuncle, as one of your friends would say, ' he noted to Jonathan Dimbleby. Williams said her head was on the block but that it was the new Euston station that was 'abominable' to her. Lammy was last up. 'As a Tottenham fan, I'd like to see Highbury gone and not rebuilt, ' he said with a grin. Fellow Spurs fan and ex-president Marco Goldschmied would be proud. Expresident and Arsenal season ticket holder Owen Luder would not.

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