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Q & A: Richard Leng AFL Architects

When and where were you born?

June 1948, Castleford, Yorkshire.

What is your favourite building and why?

Cable & Wireless Training Centre in Coventry by MacCormac, Jamieson and Pritchard. It's an original and beautifully crafted building.

What is your favourite restaurant/meal?

Oysters and roast duck in the Lake District with a clear view of Helvellyn, which you've climbed earlier in the day.

What vehicle(s) do you own?

E-Type Jag and a BMW.

What is your favourite film?

Godfather Trilogy by Francis Ford Coppola.

What is your favourite book?

Les Misérables.

What is your favourite 'design classic'?

Charles Eames'chair and ottoman - or an E-Type Jag.

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

Portcullis House - a hideous building designed by a great architect who was distracted by the fear and prejudice of the conservation lobby and our elected representatives in Westminster.

Who or what is your biggest architectural influence and why?

Alvar Aalto - humanity, originality and vision, but humanity first.

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

My fellow director Phil Osborne, incredible creativity and energy.

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

A professional trumpeter soloist, but I would have needed a talent transplant.

What would your advice be to architectural students?

First find out if you can do it, then learn your craft and, if you can, enjoy practicing it.Better still, learn to play the trumpet.

What would your motto be?

Try everything once, except country dancing, and never eat in a revolving restaurant.

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