The first chief executive of Salford's Lowry Centre, Stephen Hetherington, has strong views about architecture. 'Space, environment and materials are the important ingredients, ' he says.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater (above) is 'a beautiful example: it grows out of the hillside and is an extension of the landscape'. He admires 'the spatial constructions' of Mies van der Rohe.
He is justly proud of Michael Wilford's Lowry building - 'pure space and form' - but adds: 'The medieval manor, with its baronial hall, has the same feeling. It is not modernity itself that is attractive, but vistas and spaces.'
Hetherington loathes architects and planners who insist on keeping historic facades when the buildings behind them are box-like constructions of 'compressed cells'.
He is depressed by mock-Tudor, mock-Gothic, mock-anything. He applauds when things are allowed to die naturally, and welcomes the opportunity to replace them with something truly of its time rather than 'stultifying preservation'.
Wilford is 'an ideal working partner', says Hetherington. 'The building is technically demanding.
Many architects are disinclined to consider the practicalities of buildings. Michael ensured that this does everything required of it.
The Lowry is a serious commercial trading enterprise with beautifully balanced spatial form.'
The two theatres, three galleries, shops and bars were expected to attract 77,000 people in the first year, but are already on target for 1.2-1.4 million visitors by April.