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Q & A - David Dunster Liverpool University

Where and when were you born?

 

Strood in Kent, August 1945.

 

What is your favourite building and why?

 

Borromini’s San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane in Rome, because it is a lot smaller than my other favourite building - Caprarola by Vignola - and totally unlike my third favourite building, Aldo Rossi’s cemetery in Modena.

 

What is your favourite restaurant/meal?

 

Anywhere that smells good and where I don’t care what the bill is.

 

What vehicle(s) do you own?

 

Peugeot 206 HDi.

 

What is your favourite film?

 

Fellini’s 8¢.

 

What is your favourite book?

 

The Collected Works of Jane Austen.

 

Anything else would sound too intellectual.

 

What is your favourite ‘design classic’?

 

Mies’ Brno chair in the flat-bar version.

 

What is the worst building you’ve ever seen and why?

 

The ‘gherkin’. There are too few streets in London from which it cannot be seen.

 

Who are your biggest architectural influences?

 

Robert Venturi, the only truly literate architect; Aldo Rossi, because he believed in something that might be a city; O M Ungers, who dreams in Cartesian space; and Álvaro Siza, who builds with such intelligence. Why have none of them received an RIBA Gold Medal?

 

Who is the most talented architect you’ve worked with?

 

Emilio Ambasz.

 

If you hadn’t been an architect, what would you have been?

 

Richer.

 

What would your advice be to architectural students?

 

Treat authority with the contempt that it deserves; never talk about buildings you have not seen; and learn to read and write English.

 

What would your motto be?

 

‘Is that all there is?’

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