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Q & A - Steven Pidwill Shepheard Epstein Hunter

Where and when were you born?

Where east London used to meet Essex, the year after the Queen was crowned.

What is your favourite building and why?

Maybe the Mackintosh School of Art in Glasgow, if I must.

What is your favourite restaurant/meal?

Almost anything made by my partner, Rachel - restaurants have difficulty competing.

What vehicle do you own?

A VW Passat Estate, bought on the internet. It works well, but I wish the CD player worked better.

Boring but true.

What is your favourite film?

I enjoyed Nixon by Oliver Stone.

What is your favourite book?

Recently, Any Human Heart by William Boyd - it shows how people have several lives in a normal span, not just one.

What is your favourite 'design classic'?

A classic screw wine-cork puller with pull-down wings.

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

The long stretch of London Metropolitan University's yellow stock brick nothingness that stretches from near Highbury roundabout for 200 yards.

Who or what is your biggest architectural influence and why?

Alvar Aalto, with a bit of Ralph Erskine and Reginald Cave, head of Oxford School of Architecture in the mid-1970s.

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

A whole stream of people who have passed through our practice over the last 20 years.

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

Probably either a social worker or an art teacher.

What would your advice be to architectural students?

Don't give up.

What would your motto be?

See above.

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