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a life in architecture richard badcock

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A consultant forensic scientist at Rampton high security hospital, Richard Badcock says his favourite building is Cotehele - what Pevsner calls 'the most extensive and important Tudor house in Cornwall', situated in woods above the River Tamar (pictured below).

Home to the Edgcumbe family for generations, it now belongs to the National Trust. 'The setting is perfect, 'says Badcock. 'It is architecture on a domestic scale; you can easily imagine living in it.'

Badcock visits Cotehele often: he calls it 'sentimental indulgence'. He believes that ideal architecture should fulfil the principles of utility, strength and grace (as Cotehele does), and is of the opinion that modern buildings usually meet two of these three principles but rarely all of them.

Badcock's favourite hospital is the Retreat in York - its earliest buildings designed by John Bevans and constructed in 179496 - is seen as pioneering in its humane treatment of the mentally disturbed.

'The Georgians understood the importance of architecture's influence on people's lives.There is comfort and safety in the proportions of the Retreat. Its glass and stone induce a state of calm.'

The house Badcock lives in himself was built in 1801.'It has simple lines and good proportions. I can relax in it.That's what good architecture should do.' He also talks about architecture being able 'to move people, to provoke a spiritual response in them'.

Badcock adds: 'Architecture's unique capability is being able to lift the spirits just by being there.'

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