'I suppose it would be a cliche to pick the Taj Mahal, ' says poet and critic Tom Paulin. 'I visited it twice in one day many years ago and was overwhelmed by it - who would not be? It reminded me of a Wallace Stevens poem because it seemed to be a building about the imagination. It wasn't a static building but one of pure spirit. It was like watching an idea grow.'
Paulin was recently in Dublin making a documentary about James Joyce's Ulysses, which has an episode set in the National Library. An admirer of the city's Georgian architecture, Paulin had never been inside the Victorian library and found it surprisingly airy and beautiful. 'The Victorianism isn't oppressive, and there's an ever-so-slight element of the Baroque in the staircase.'
For Georgian Dublin he chooses the James Joyce Centre on North Queen Street, a house once owned by Lord Kenmare which had fallen into disrepair. 'It's a fabulous Georgian terrace with beautifully proportioned rooms and elaborate ceilings. One ceiling has slightly naive oval fresco paintings showing aristocratic couples dancing. The way of saving it was to say Joyce was born there, which he certainly was not, but it was mentioned in Ulysses .'
Paulin's fondness for a building stems from its historical significance as much as any architectural distinction.