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a life in architecture ricky gervais

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'This is easy for me because I love 1930s architecture, 'says comedian and Bafta award winner Ricky Gervais. 'I live in Bloomsbury and I can see my favourite building from my kitchen window, at least in winter when the trees are bare.'

This is Charles Holden's Grade II* listed Senate House (pictured), built for the University of London in 1937, and the building Holden considered his finest. Gervais worked at the University of London Union next door in the 1980s, an ugly 1950s municipal-style building, he says, where his Slough based oily boss David Brent of The Office may have felt more at home.

But for Gervais it is the solidity of Senate House which attracts .

'It's in Malet Street, which is a laidback, bohemian, tree-lined street, and this great big block of a building looks so out of place, like it's just fallen from a meteor. It's strong and sturdy but with such small windows, which gives it an air of impenetrability. I think it was the model for the Ministry of Truth in Orwell's 1984 - room 101 is in there. It's stark and scary but it has all these lush interiors, great halls and red carpets, you can imagine surviving a nuclear holocaust in there.'

Gervais also loves the Ocean Hotel and lido in the Brighton suburb of Saltdean, designed by Richard Jones and opened in 1938.

'It's much more curvy and sensuou than Senate House, but again it has that confident 1930s modernity.

My girlfriend's parents used to live opposite the hotel and we sneaked in one night - it was kitsch heaven!'

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