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Q&A: John McAslan John McAslan and Partners

When and where were you born?

1954, Glasgow.

What is your favourite building and why?

Historic place: the Grand Canal, Venice, because it's perfect and timeless.Contemporary place:

Kimbell Art Museum, Texas, because it's perfect and timeless.

What is your favourite restaurant/meal?

Home-made Italian in our garden with the family.

What vehicle(s) do you own?

I don't own a vehicle; my wife has a school-run machine.

What is your favourite film?

On the Waterfront.

What is your favourite book?

At present I'm tackling Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives by Alan Bullock - light bedtime reading.

What is your favourite design classic?

The flushing toilet.

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

Most of the new commercial buildings in the centre of Edinburgh and Glasgow deserve better treatment. They're either hopeless pastiche or have little relevance to the special character of either city.

Who or what is your biggest architectural influence and why?

Louis Kahn, because he designed masterly buildings.

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

Gary Wright, a Harvard graduate in Boston at Cambridge Seven who also introduced me to the extraordinary richness of American architecture.

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

I'd love to have been a longdistance runner, but I could never have made it.

What would your advice be to architectural students?

Commit yourself to trying to make a difference. Be prepared for hard work and you might just get there.

What would your motto be?

Trust me, I'm Scottish.

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