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Back in fashion

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astragal

Another James Stirling building, the Cambridge History Faculty, comes in for praise from another American, Columbia professor Paul Spencer Byard in a new book, The Architecture of Additions (not quite such as good title as our own Fred Scott's Anatomy of Alterations). Byard can be, and is, wonderfully rude about things he doesn't like in his short texts, very well illustrated. But on the subject of Cambridge he likes the Foster Law Faculty for how it plays up to, and brings the best out of, the Stirling design. 'Vindicated in its ideas by Foster, the History Faculty seems once again a confident, cheerful and assertive source of hope.' Still in Cambridge, Byard takes a sideswipe at Quinlan Terry's Downing College library: 'Wilkins's buildings call for restraint. Instead, the oblivious Terry puts down the Maitland Robinson like a classical boom box and turns it on.' Nor does he like Ted Cullinan's St John's College library: 'When one hasn't much to say, one should always remember the advantage of keeping still.' In praising Richard MacCormac's Fitzwilliam chapel, he has a go at Sir Denys Lasdun's 1966 neighbouring block: 'For a building as unlikeable as Lasdun's, it is hard to imagine an addition doing more!'

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