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a life in architecture - sophie raworth

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BBC breakfast television's news presenter Sophie Raworth says straightaway: 'My favourite building is Battersea Power Station (pictured). It's ridiculous.

It's like a huge bedstead in the middle of the city.

'When I'm away from home and think of London, I think of Battersea. It's homely and it makes me laugh.'

Raworth worked in Leeds for several years, and she has a great affection for 'the campanile', an old factory chimney now cared for by English Heritage.

The Leeds structure is modelled on the campanile of Florence Cathedral, and was built when the city was at its most prosperous.

She was delighted to see the similarity between the two buildings on her first visit to Florence.

'I suppose I like buildings that surprise - Sydney Opera House, the London Eye, the pyramid at the Louvre, 'she says. 'I love it when old and new are successfully combined in one structure.

'I don't consider myself to be architecturally discerning, so I don't notice a building if it's nondescript. I hate unimaginative, solid grey slabs'- pointing to a nearby block in Hammersmith Broadway - 'but I like light, airy buildings with lots of glass.

'I think the Reichstag is great.

It combines old and new with great success.'

Raworth sums up her attitude to architecture: 'I want what is good to be preserved, and I love it when a new use can be found for an old building.'

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