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Architecture gains two honours

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The profession has secured just two awards in the Queen's New Year's Honours, bringing to an end the bumper crop of the last few years.

Welsh conservation architect James Douglas Hogg received an OBE, while Straw Bale House-designer Sarah Wigglesworth picked up an MBE. However, the news has been marred by the revelation that hundreds of nominees have turned down awards in recent years, among them the architects Cedric Price, Charles Holden and Walter Segal.

Ten architects appear on the confidential list of 'refuseniks' that was leaked from Whitehall before Christmas, along with the likes of L S Lowry, Albert Finney and Nigella Lawson.

Holden, who overhauled the design of the London Underground, twice turned down a knighthood and Price rejected the offer of a CBE in the 2003 New Year list.

Price's friend Simon Allford said he suspected on another day the great visionary might have accepted the award. 'It was the maverick in him. You never really knew what he was going to do.'

Michael Manser declined the offer of a CBE, not in protest but from remorse at his own failure to combat Prince Charles' assault on modern architecture while president of the RIBA.

'I felt strongly that I missed an opportunity and the fallout has been considerable, ' he said this week.

'I felt badly about it for a long while.'

Manser was finally convinced to accept the honour the third time it was offered.

Current RIBA president George Ferguson told the AJ he was surprised at how few architects had been recognised this year. 'It's very strange that at a time when architecture is getting greater recognition this isn't reflected in the honours, ' he said. 'Maybe we would have done better if we were lollipop ladies or did one of the many things recognised in the community. But we're not as cuddly as that.'

However, Jon Rouse said the dip was simply a return to the status quo after an exceptionally successful couple of years, during which knighthoods were awarded to Nicholas Grimshaw, Terry Farrell and Richard MacCormac.

And those who have refused:

Godfrey Allen - OBE 1943, CBE 1957 Charles Holden - knighthood 1944 and 1951 Philip Bagenal - OBE 1956, CBE 1966 Edward Bevan - MBE 1964 Stephen Bower - CBE 1973 Kenneth Campbell - CBE 1973 Walter Segal - OBE 1982 Allen Matheson - OBE 1987, CBE 1997 Michael Manser - CBE 1988, 1993 Cedric Price - CBE 2003

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