Independent on Sunday editor Janet Street-Porter, culture secretary Chris Smith and Tate director Nicholas Serota kicked off Architecture Week last Wednesday at a press event at Herzog & de Meuron's Tate Modern, due to open in six months time.
Patron of the 10-day series of events Street-Porter spoke of her passion for architecture but bemoaned the fact that 'architects find it hard to communicate. It's not something they learn at college'. Smith outlined 'the three ingredients for really good regeneration work': dramatic new statement buildings, high-quality smaller projects, and involvement of local people, concluding that 'what Architecture Week is primarily about is demystifying the process of architecture... improving public participation and hopefully public engagement'.
The three speakers cast the first votes in the love Architecture National Poll, using one of the ten electronic voting machines located up and down the country. Billed as the first-ever architectural poll, the census records responses to questions such as 'Have you ever read a planning notice?' and 'What would you love to change about where you live?'. The results will be analysed and published in December 1999.
l It's not too late to participate in Architecture Week's on-line tea party, being held in conjunction with the Guardian's news website. Jonathan Glancey comperes today's (11 November) event at which international architects including Jacques Herzog, Erick Van Egeraat, Piers Gough as well as riba president Marco Goldschmied, Sir Colin St John Wilson and fat's Sean Griffiths answer questions on all matters architectural. Either e-mail your questions in advance to www.archweek.co.uk or ask them live on the web at the Guardian website on www.newsunlimited.co.uk/archweek between 14.00 and 17.00.