three of a kind Academy model
Visitors to the Royal Academy summer exhibition may be taken with the large-scale model of Portcullis House, academician Sir Michael Hopkins' much-delayed Parliamentary offices, on display outside the architecture room (hung by Ted Cullinan and excellent, by the way). We should be grateful that the Hopkins building is there at all. Some years ago Sir Michael was going through his post, and found a letter addressed to Sir William Whitfield, regretting that his submission for the new offices had not been chosen. Minutes later, Sir Michael received a phone call from Sir William, sheepishly saying that he had a curious letter that he thought was addressed to him . . . Astragal is intrigued, incidentally, by the suggestion that the Hopkins building might be used for the new second chamber, on the grounds that new forms of democracy need new forms of architecture. MPs looking for more accommodation could then, of course, move into the House of Lords. Sir Michael, who is lecturing in Dubai this week for the Architectural Review, is on fine form, especially for someone who had his obituary written (by Stephen Gardiner for The Times) no less than . . . ten years ago.