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robin ellis

briefing notes

When and where were you born?

Bristol,1954.

What is your favourite building and why?

Much of what Foster has done in London in the past few years.

Swiss Re is extraordinary.

What is your favourite restaurant/meal?

I'm not a foodie. Good company makes a great meal.

What vehicle(s) do you own?

A (nearly perfect) 1967 Fiat Cinquecento. A (wild) Lotus Elise with a 193 Hp engine, and a large E430 Mercedes Estate.

What is your favourite book?

At the moment it's On Green Dolphin Street by Sebastian Faulks.

What is your favourite 'design classic'?

Where design utility achieves timeless elegance and delight - a Fiat Cinquecento? But I'm easily seduced by the furniture of Eames and other original modernists.

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

Post-war Brutalist public housing, best seen in Southwark. In many ways, the popular acclaim given to fashionable novelty remains the greatest danger to the future of architecture.

Who or what is your biggest architectural influence and why?

Norman Whicheloe of Whicheloe Macfarlane. As a friend of his son, I spent much of my childhood in the house which he designed and lived in in Clifton , Bristol. Sadly, he died on Christmas Day.

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

As a practice, Allies and Morrison.

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

A portrait photographer. Before going to Liverpool School of Architecture I tried (and failed) to get a job in a photographer's studio in Bristol.

What would your advice be to architectural students?

Keep your head in the clouds but your feet on the ground.

What would your motto be?

As above.

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