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a life in architecture

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Paddington Station is my favourite London building, not least because it signals departure for holidays and the best bit of Britain, the West Country, but also because Railtrack is finally respecting Brunel's great roof.

The new retail deck does not detract from it, and I like the fact that it has perpetuated the old name of the station forecourt, originally called the Lawn because it was one.

Thank God it has banished the seriously bad statue of Brunel to the Platform One entrance - I wish they would junk it altogether. But Paddington does contain one of the best statues in London - of a young Great War soldier, weighed down by his kit, reading a letter. It is by C Sargeant Jagger, himself a soldier with first-hand experience of the trenches, who did the wonderful Royal Artillery War Memorial at Hyde Park Corner.

Marble Arch is now bright and clean again after 50 years of being pitch black, revealing wonderful whimsical bas reliefs. For a triumphal arch it is very modest - nothing like the grandiose Arc de Triomphe. There is a secret room over the arch, I think it used to be a police station. It would be fun to put Chantrey's equestrian statue of George IV (currently in Trafalgar Square) on top of it, where it was originally intended to be.

Finally the Dome. I love it. I went inside when it was still empty and Richard Rogers'space is breathtaking. In five years I bet there will be a Dome Supporters Society.

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