As executive director of the North West Cultural Consortium, Libby Raper believes in culture as a regenerating force.She was just back from a trip to Barcelona where the Year of Gaudí was being celebrated with typically Spanish gusto. 'Thirty years ago, the idea of a Gaudí tour bus would have been unheard of, 'she says.'Now he's a priceless cultural export.'
The Guggenheim - the New York one, she quickly asserts - is a building she revisits as often as she can.'I love Frank Lloyd Wright's work, and here he has combined these airy, sweeping spaces with a fantastic ability to involve people.
All the exhibitions I've seen there have worked well.You have the sense of it all going on around you but you can still focus on the detail. I think that has everything to do with the inspirational design - light shines through the building and it's entirely fit for its purpose.'
Another showcase for art Raper admires is the newly converted 2021 visual arts centre in Scunthorpe, by Allen Todd Architecture.'It's an excellent reuse of a redundant building, in a town badly in need of regeneration, but it's also wonderful the way the architect has modernised the space.'
'I was also going to choose the Liberty store in London because I love the Art Nouveau movement, from Barcelona to Moscow, but I finally got to see Baillie Scott's Blackwell house in the Lake District, and I fell in love with that, too, 'she says. She admires how it beautifully synthesises all the elements of the Arts and Crafts movement (see picture).