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a life in architecture

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anna pavord

Norman Foster's Canary Wharf station on the Jubilee Line Extension has made travelling much easier for Anna Pavord, author of bestseller The Tulip and gardening correspondent for the Independent, based at Canary Wharf. She admires its scale 'and that great arc of daylight that comes down through the escalators from that curving shell roof. It's the most staggering achievement to make you feel joyful when you come out of a Tube train.'

Pavord grew up in Abergavenny and remembers being taken as a child to see the small twelfth century Norman church of St Mary and St David at Kilpeck.She was astonished and mystified by the carvings in the red sandstone of which the church is built:

extraordinary dragons, strange faces, writhing beasts and vine tendrils - 'Viking in character'.

'Although it's a Christian church, ' says Pavord, 'the symbolism and the feeling you get is of something much older and stranger and stronger. It intrigued me deeply as a child and fills me with wonder still.'

Her final choice is Mapperton, an isolated seventeenth-century manor house near Beaminster in Dorset. The U-shaped range of buildings - house, church and stables - are made of warm, gold Ham stone that shines in the sunlight. Pavord loves its stillness and its serenity, 'the feeling that life has passed it by and it couldn't really matter less. The money ran out and nobody has ever tinkered around with it since.'

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