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Local practices a match for the pride of London


I note with interest and some concern your report that questions have arisen about the private finance initiative's (PFI) ability to employ top architects following the collapse of bids by three highly respected practices for school work in Norwich, and their replacement 'at a late stage by locally based Feilden + Mawson' (News, AJ 25.11.04).

Both here and in your Editorial you seem to imply that the 'locally based firm' is less likely to deliver quality architecture or to 'want to make a living and do some proper design work' than the three practices to which you have referred.

I hope you will assure readers that this implication arises only from sloppy editing and not from a view that good architecture is produced exclusively by practices that are London-based, fashionable, or both.

It is true that the practice founded by Bernard Feilden and David Mawson is Norwichbased - and none the worse for that - but it is also true that for many years a vast amount of the highly respected firm's work has been far from this city.

Of course, you may well be right about PFI, but if you are I suggest that, in this case at least, you are reaching the right conclusion on the wrong evidence.

And I should perhaps make clear that I have no connection with any of the firms involved.

Gerald Dix, Norwich

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