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a life in architecture

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Paula Pryke

Florist Paula Pryke claims she has no favourite buildings as such but that if she were really rich, 'it would be lovely to have different buildings for different moods'. She loves her home, designed by her husband, architect Peter Romaniuk. The office and workshop are on the ground floor, with living space above. It is perfect for their way of life, but ideally, she would like to move it to California - 'overlooking Big Sur rather than Pentonville Road.'

Pryke is drawn to round buildings. A tiny round wattle-and-daub flintstone cottage has just come on the market in Suffolk. She admits she is tempted. She also likes formal eighteenth-century houses, surrounded by 'magnificent walls with grand entrance gates.' Her two childhood schools were like this: 'one was well maintained and the other neglected'; in her mind, they represented Heaven and Hell respectively. Her attitude to buildings and detailing has changed since then, and she wonders if she 'would feel the same way about them now.'

A building Pryke particularly enjoys decorating for formal gatherings is the conservatory at Syon Park, Brentford, designed in the 1820s by Charles Fowler and believed to have inspired Joseph Paxton when he was designing the Crystal Palace; Fowler also designed the Covent Garden floral market.

For her 40th birthday next year, Pryke fantasises about throwing a party in Oscar Niemeyer's flying-saucer-shaped Museum of Modern Art in Niteroi (shown), Brazil.

'It's a round building with a great view, very futuristic, very 2000.'

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