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a life in architecture kate adie

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Not surprisingly, Kate Adie has very decided views on architectural likes and dislikes.

Her favourite building? 'Durham Cathedral. It is a crowning building in a glorious setting.'

What depresses her? Modern pedestrianised town developments where all the buildings face inwards so that the visitor is faced with 'the bums of buildings'.

'And why, 'asks Adie, 'are the English so obsessed with the third bedroom?' It is usually a box room, supposedly for a child to sleep in, but she thinks people would be happier with more space in fewer rooms. 'People love to nest, even in offices.

Surroundings should feel happy, secure and congenial.'

And views are important.

Brought up in post-war Sunderland, Adie recalls small houses being built on derelict spaces and the ground level used for 'dustbins, coal holes, and discarded bikes'. She is convinced that 'ugly surroundings lead to ugly behaviour'.

She visited Sweden during the 1960s and was delighted to discover beautiful modern buildings. 'I realised that modern did not equal ugly.' One of her favourites is Ragnar Ostberg's Stockholm Town Hall (pictured above): 'It is grand. It works. And it has the right number of kitchens and loos.'

Her final comment: 'Why do public buildings, stately homes and cathedrals have impressive and inviting front doors, yet expect people to enter by a mean little door at the back or the side?'

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