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Isabel Allen's editorial (AJ 30.11.06) strikes just the right commonsense note for a solution to the looming 2012 Olympics fiasco - if only we could be confident that such views would be heeded.

In part, it seems that pragmatism will rein in some of the project's worst excesses - a modest example can be seen already, as you report in the same issue that Zaha Hadid's Aquatic Centre has been cut down to something more manageable.

Hadid appears to have accepted the reduction of her grand scheme with good grace - which should set an example to all architects working on the Olympic project. London in the 21st century is not the place for mega-projects, despite Livingstone's apparent need to stamp his high-rise mark all over the city.

Both the mayor and Parliament could do a lot worse than take a short stroll to the Royal Festival Hall. More than 50 years after it opened, this final reminder of the Festival of Britain has been rejuvenated and once again provides a vibrant centre to a part of the city which has long remained underused and unloved.

This should be the template for the city's Olympic planning.

How fitting it would be for the 2012 games to reect some of the UK's more modest virtues - which could be expressed not in huge, empty gestures, but in more small-scale designs with long-term use.

Alistair Pringle, London SW11

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