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A life in architecture - victoria glendinning

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Buildings with bellies and bulges instantly occurred to writer Victoria Glendinning, when asked to name some of her favourites.

The first 'roundish'building she fell for was Breugel's Tower of Babel.

'Breugel painted two versions in about 1563, one showing the completed tower and one showing it under construction, 'she says.

Many years later she became intrigued by Broadcasting House, designed by Val Myers and Watson Hart. 'It's a completely lovely 1930s building. As you come up the street you see its great curve and it suddenly came to me that it was exactly like Breugel's Tower of Babel, the same shape, with lots of storeys.' Glendinning thinks that the similarity is wonderfully appropriate, given that both buildings were to do with voices and communication, and she wondered whether the architects were thinking of Breugel's tower when they conceived Broadcasting House.

The Ark, designed by Ralph Erskine, is another favourite (see picture). 'A lot of people were very rude about it, but I always look forward to seeing it as you drive up from the M4.' She has great hopes of Lord Foster's new GLA building, with its asymmetrical bulge. And she has noticed another new building on the Embankment, an extension to the Financial Times building. 'I see to my delight that it now is pregnant, 'she says. 'They've got these huge curved steel girders jutting out about a third of the way up, so that's going to be another bulge very close to where I live, which I'm very happy about.'

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