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Koolhaas hammers Blair's Respect agenda

One of the world's most famous architects, Rem Koolhaas, has slammed Prime Minister Tony Blair's 'Respect' agenda.

Speaking yesterday, Koolhaas panned new Labour's drive to clamp down on anti-social behaviour in local communities.

Showing slides of Blair cleaning graffiti off walls followed by the 'Respect' logo, the Dutch architect, who intermittently lives and works in London, said: 'Maybe we should ask whether we need such excluding elements. It is so interventionist in how people live together.'

He added that modern levels of political correctness have made public space too knowingly inoffensive.

The outspoken designer - who is working on merchant bank Rothschild's new headquarters in the City of London and a masterplan in White City, west London - continued his speech by taking a sideswipe at the capital.

'It took me a long time to love London,' Koolhaas said. 'It has a bad planning system, along with lots of indifferent and bad architecture.'

Koolhaas described London as the 'antithesis' of what good architects are taught to love, and told an assembled audience of CABE officials how he wanted to create something 'chaotic' in his work at White City to continue this precedent.

by Rob Sharp

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