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Blairs call up stars in drive for public design excellence

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Prime minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie are to host an official reception at Downing Street next week to press for 'excellence in public sector buildings'.

The high-profile event on the evening of 4 October is to be attended by around 200 people picked by government departments as representing 'a real cross-section' of the design community and including architects such as Richard Murphy and end users like Imperial College's estates director Ian Caldwell, although the guest list is being kept hush-hush.

A Downing Street spokesperson said the event has been created to allow Blair to try and promote excellence and ensure that the next generation of schools, hospitals, health centres and the like 'embody the highest standards of design and use the best of British and world architectural talent.'

Last week the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment's incoming chief executive Jon Rouse told a RIBA conference that good design could be shown to have had quantifiable benefits in areas such as health and crime and it is understood that CABE has written a short paper to underpin the reception.

The paper, which Downing Street said will be published, is expected to call for the standards of design in everyday buildings such as town halls and libraries as well as the noted landmarks to be lifted to raise the quality of life in the UK.

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