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A sideways look at an exemplary new website

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There I was a fortnight ago getting doleful about the sites people send in for viewing, when in comes the address of the new site of architectural practice acq at www. acq-architects. com.

'Noooo', you cry when you see the three letters up on the home page sideways. Apart from the fact that this is useful only for people reading their screens while lying on the office couch, on subsequent pages the sideways logo appears on the right-hand side, so you want to read it the other way round. But that's about the only thing you worry about in this largely exemplary site.

The partners - the a, c and q of the practice name - are all ex-Richard Rogers - whose site, incidentally, has just been updated (www. richardrogers.

co. uk). There are five main pages: one about the practice acq, one with news and others with projects, a client list and the address. Personally, I would put the address on every page and rotate the logo, but I guess five main sections looks a tad more serious than four.

The all-important projects are arranged in five sections, and there is one immediately visible image for each project, with a commendably brief and factual description. You get more images by clicking on the arrows at the bottom right. Moving your cursor to the right slides the translucent menu strip off-screen to the left.

At first you don't necessarily notice this feature and curse the designer for omitting a back button - and for running all but the home page as a toolbar-less screen. Discovering the sliding mechanism diminishes the ire and it eventually dawns on you that you don't really need toolbars with well-mannered sites - except to adjust the type size. Grrrr. Actually you can adjust type size, but only on the home page. After two or three magnifications the lines get intertwined and instead of entering the site you go to the designer, bitedigital. You don't mind because their site is a celebration of great typography.

sutherland. lyall@btinternet. com

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