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Spare a thought for the 'everyday mundane'

The HQ building in Preston by Studio BAAD (AJ 9.1.03) is a laudable creation, interpreting low-tech materials and construction technique to produce a fantastically rigorous design and image, all for around £300/m 2! Although the apron detail of gravel against a rainscreen wall reminds me of those heady days in the 1980s when the posse of young blood was constructing buildings alongside the master at Stockley Park.

When his beautiful two-storey wall of fritted glass met reality in the form of contract grass cutters mowing the edge of their gravel perimeters with hover mowers, it caused damage that can only be described as 'embarrassing and expensive' when compared with the amount of thought put into the details.

As designers and architects, the concept and finished reality only stand and succeed when the cleaner with the dirty mop and contract maintenance have finished their job in the dark on a rainy Friday afternoon.

Let's try and think a little beyond the photo call and to the everyday mundane, which is what impresses the punters after the sheen has faded.

Nick Midgley, NMda/Architecture Group

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