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a life in architecture peter greenaway

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Given the formal precision of his sumptuous cinematic tableaux, it is hardly surprising that Peter Greenaway is less interested in individual buildings than in the whole environment.

Greenaway claims a layman's knowledge of architecture, but following his film, The Belly of an Architect, he was invited to be on jury panels and give lectures on buildings around the world.

For his follow-up, Drowning by Numbers, he designed a seaside villa, and more recently 'a grand Neolithic mound'outside Groningen in northern Holland.

With tongue in cheek, Greenaway has said that he would like to be reincarnated as an architect, and he shares Vitruvius' belief that practitioners ideally need to know about history, economics and maths, as well as having some understanding of materials, landscape design, popular taste and posterity.

Born in London, Greenaway visited Waterhouse's Natural History Museum as a child for the extravagance of the building (see picture).Today, he regrets the effect of Wright's Guggenheim Museum in New York which started a slow move away from functional exhibition facilities towards 'architectural sculpture'.

Greenaway now lives in Amsterdam, home of 'the very best vernacular architecture in Europe', and also appreciates 'its long and continuous respect for the scale of humans with architecture'.

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