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astragal

The imminent appointment by the RIBA Trust of Charles Knevitt as its new director brings back into the architectural fold someone with inside knowledge of the institute and the profession at large. Knevitt was for some years architectural correspondent of The Times, and was a leading figure in the community architecture campaign of the 1980s, along with Nick Wates and (for a time) Rod Hackney. Indeed, it was an article by Knevitt about Hackney's Macclesfield housing scheme at Black Road where the phrase 'community architecture'was given its first public airing. The two had a falling out over the Inner City Aid charity, chaired by Lord Scarman but eventually dissolved. Knevitt's career moved on to publishing and marketing, and more recently professional fund-raising, most latterly bringing in huge amounts for Liverpool University. This experience should stand him in good stead at the trust, which has little spare cash, although staff and accommodation costs are being met by the RIBA. Let's hope Knevitt keeps his reputation for bonhomie intact; his 50th birthday party at the Chelsea Arts Club, with music from the excellent Bootleg Beatles, was memorable.

He is also a member of the Athenaeum; the difference between the two clubs is that the latter throws you out if they catch you with a woman. In Chelsea, if they catch you without, they send one up.

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