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50 / 50 ANTHONY HUNT Structural engineer

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What is the best building of the past 50 years?

It can't be Eden [Hunt was the engineer] so it has to be Skylon - a sort of tensegrity structure and I've never been sure whether it was Felix Samuely or Frank Newby.

Whatever, seeing it for the first time persuaded me that I should get a job at Samuely's. I had been articled to some boring engineering firm and after wandering around the festival site, I knew here was the deep end of something completely different.

Samuely hired me and I stayed there for seven years.

What is the most significant innovation of the past 50 years?

The land yacht. If you are mad you sail them on an airfield at 150kph.

Mine is a Seagull designed by Jean-Philipe Krischer. It has a fully battened mylar sail and it goes fast, especially when the sand is hard packed and the tyres are blown up hard.

And the best building product?

The socket head bolt - it's a bolt with a knurled cylinder head with a precise hexagonal hole and I've got boxes of them in black and stainless steel and chrome and cadmium plate. It's the most elegant fastening ever designed.

Fred Scott used them on his Supporto chair and the Eamses on theirs and I'm using them on a current bridge design.

What innovation do you hope to see in the next 50 years?

I've always wanted to see little computer-controlled vehicles running down the middle of Oxford Street in London, pollutionfree, silent. We've sort of started to have them with the Docklands Light Railway and the people mover between the north and south terminals at Gatwick.

Sheffield's trams have drivers and conductors but they've got the flavour right. They are almost silent and clean, have automatic doors and tell you the next stop.

These interviews by Sutherland Lyall will form the basis of the 50/50 exhibition at Interbuild 2002.

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