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Q & A: Glenn Howells - Glenn Howells Architects

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When and where were you born?

1961, Wordsley, West Midlands.

What is your favourite building and why?

The Kröller-Müller Museum, Arnhem, Netherlands. It has a marvellous relationship to the trees, so it becomes a walk through the forest. The building is timeless.

What is your favourite restaurant/meal?

Bread, cheese and wine in an alpine hut with friends and family.

What vehicle(s) do you own?

A tired but sturdy VW Passat.

What is your favourite film?

Dr Strangelove.

What is your favourite book?

Any detailed map book, especially aerial photos.

What is your favourite 'design classic'?

The Pentel Sign pen.

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

Birmingham New Street Station.

Not only is it a dreadful arrival place but it misses the greatest opportunity for the city centre.

Who or what is your biggest architectural influence and why?

These include Jean Prouvé and Filippo Brunelleschi, both of whom grasped the importance of understanding the 'part'or fundamental building elements before designing the whole project.

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

The architect I learned most from was Robin Spence, who has an almost religious passion about designing buildings starting from detail and not fashion.

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

Probably more popular and richer.

What would your advice be to architectural students?

Develop a design approach that allows many issues to be considered, at different scales, simultaneously.

What would your motto be?

Life is short, value time and spend it well.

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