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a life in architecture margaret forster

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Margaret Forster, author of Georgy Girl, Private Papers, The Memory Box and, most recently, Good Wives? (the question mark is important), nominates Kenwood House in Hampstead, not far from her home in London NW5, as her favourite building. She says: 'I walk across the heath to it most days and am always struck by how perfectly the lines of the house complement the landscape.

House and trees and rolling lawns are all of a piece.'

Kenwood House dates from the early 17th century, but is best known for its splendid library, built to designs by Robert Adam, in 1769. Kenwood's grounds, in which Repton had a hand, are a popular venue for outdoor concerts in the summer.

Forster cites the newly opened Women's Library in London's East End as her second favourite building: 'It's superb.' Located on the site of some old wash-houses, and designed by Wright and Wright Architects, it has been built with the help of a £4.2 million Lottery grant. She is also a fan of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, now lavishly refurbished by Jeremy Dixon.Edward Jones Architects, and claiming to make opera more accessible to the general public rather than being a hot-house for aficionados.

Asked if there was any building she dislikes, Forster nominates most supermarkets. 'They are built without thought, when they offer the chance to put something beautiful onto a usually ugly site.'

Tactfully, she does not mention names.

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