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Q & A: Irena Bauman

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When and where were you born?

Warsaw,1955.

What is your favourite building and why?

Library, University of Utrecht by Mecanoo. It lifts the spirit and affirms the crucial role of patronage in innovative architecture.

What is your favourite restaurant/meal?

Fried liver and onions with beetroot, chips and Zubrowka vodka in the Polish club in Chapeltown, Leeds, demolished last year.

What vehicle(s) do you own?

SAAB 93 convertible.

What is your favourite film?

Ridley Scott's Blade Runner.

What is your favourite book?

Italian Cooking No 2, Australian women's weekly.

What is your favourite 'design classic'?

Gem paper clip, first made in 1899, never patented, and still on all our desks.

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

The new PFI schools in Leeds. They dampen the spirits and are an answer to the wrong questions.

Who or what is your biggest architectural influence and why?

Artist Bruce McLean, who taught me how to protect creative time by not responding to (or filing) any correspondence.

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

Maggie Pickles - Liverpool is lucky to have her.

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

A jobless person.

What would your advice be to architectural students?

There are many ways of being an architect and you may need to unlearn some of the things you have been taught before you know who you are.

What would your motto be?

Take from the rich and give to the poor (our wealthy clients excluded).

Bauman Lyons Architects

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