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Architects' good offices

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Laurence Bain from Michael Wilford & Partners was in the hottest seat at the riba last week, when No 1 Poultry was subjected to a tirade of hostile criticism from Michael Griffiths of Land Securities. The occasion was a conference on office design, organised jointly by the British Council for Offices and this magazine, in which developers, architects and users let their hair down about what does and does not work (there will be a full report in next week's aj). By and large the other architects, Sir Michael Hopkins and Ken Shuttleworth, received many more plaudits than brickbats for their buildings at Bedfont Lakes and Stockley Park respectively, from both clients (mepc and Stanhope) and users (ibm and bt). Bain, however, was given a rough ride because of clashing ceiling grids, obscured views and awkward positioning of wcs ('A case of the architect falling in love with his problems,' murmured Andrew Rabeneck during his contribution). On the other hand, can anyone name a single Land Securities building that has contributed in a positive way to London? Astragal would rather have No 1 Poultry than Grand Buildings any day of the week.

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