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briefing notes: james soane

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When and where were you born?

Clatterbridge (it's a hospital near Liverpool - but it sounds more interesting),1966.

What is your favourite building and why?

Kettle's Yard in Cambridge - a combination of spatial complexity and the clutter of everyday life.

What is your favourite restaurant/meal?

Recently, it has to be a Danish restaurant called The Cook, the Thief, the Wife and her Lover. It only has five tables and one menu.The food is more original than the name.

What vehicle(s) do you own?

An Alfa Romeo 147.

What is your favourite film?


What is your favourite book?

Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland.

What is your favourite 'design classic'?

A Paul Smith suit.

What is the worst building you've ever seen and why?

Terminal 2, Heathrow - or 1 and 3.

The inside and the outside are a mess. It doesn't have to be like that.

Who or what is your biggest architectural influence and why?

Steven Holl.He builds buildings and is not afraid to write about them intelligently.

Who is the most talented architect you've worked with?

In my first year out I worked in New York with a guy called Kevin Woest, who could draw a perspective of a skyscraper freehand in a day with a fountain pen.

If you hadn't been an architect, what would you have been?

A window dresser.

What would your advice be to architectural students?

To my Bartlett students: do more drawings.

What would your motto be?

To quote Oscar Wilde: 'In matters of great importance, it is style, not sincerity, that counts.'

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