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Something old, something new

Urban preservation need not mean stagnation, visitors to the fifth National Conservation Conference were told Northern European cities have always wanted to emulate their southern cousins, so Edinburgh boasted the sobriquet 'Athens of the North' and Amsterdam claimed to compete with Venice. Now Barcelona is the holy grail, with Bilbao claiming to have put itself in the running with Frank Gehry's Guggenheim museum. The latest contender is Birmingham, with RIBA president elect George ...

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