Some things work out for the best
Reviewing the events of the past twelve months has been relatively enjoyable. The year ends with an agreement between the riba and the Victoria & Albert Museum about the future housing of the institute's Drawings Collection with the v&a's own fine collection. At last, a good solution to an apparently insoluble problem. It was cheering to hear Zaha Hadid present her Cincinatti scheme in the Hayward Gallery this week and, after the miserable story of the Cardiff opera house, equally cheering to see her dramatic designs for the Mind Zone in the Millennium Dome. The Dome itself has started turning into a good news story, not before time, especially since the Dome itself has been completed on time and more or less to budget. The contents are starting to look exhilarating, and I don't doubt there will be a wave of real enthusiasm by the time 1999 is ended.
Two other thoughts occurred during the Zaha presentation: there is a chance of a piece of fine architecture being produced from the Cardiff wreckage, courtesy of Jonathan Adams/Percy Thomas Partnership, which would make up for other schemes which have come to grief in the city this year. Secondly, what is to become of the South Bank? Out of the fiasco of the Rogers masterplan (fatally sunk by change of Lottery attitude), we now at least have the makings of an achievable masterplan. Let's hope the Hayward survives the demolition proposals . . . The Rogers practice was triumphant in Cardiff, of course, with its Parliamentary building - a building type in sudden vogue in Britain. The Miralles equivalent for Edinburgh will also be a fine building - especially if it can compare with Benson & Forsyth's masterwork, the Museum of Scotland. Some stories do have a happy ending.
As for the new arrangements for a commission on architecture and the Greater London Authority building - well, it will give us all something to talk about over Christmas, which I very much hope you enjoy.