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Calvinist modesty

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Wilson was more positive. 'The Calvinist modesty in the Netherlands hides one of the richest architectures around today.' And few would dissent from Brouwers' assertion that the dawn of the information age means 'we must search with informed amazement for new meanings in architecture. If that is not a reason for an architecture policy, I don't know what is.'

As to communicating architecture, headlined as 'The Scottish Opportunity', it was clear that the Glasgow 1999 year of design (next year's venue for an extended rias convention) will play a large part. Its communications director, Sarah Gaventa, showed how schoolchildren are being sent architecture packs as part of the educational elements of the year-long events, and advertising firms are now pitching for the poster campaigns to press home its importance. But it was hoped that Glasgow's legacy would be felt far beyond 1999 and into the Millennium. Two building legacies will be the innovative housing project Homes for the Future, shortly to go on site and involving Ian Ritchie, Elder and Cannon, Rick Mather and Ushida Findlay's first uk project; and the Page and Park refurbishment project at the Mackintosh- designed former Herald building, the Lighthouse. Proof of the former's impact on a large site at Glasgow Green parcelled into 10 blocks is that requests are already being made to the Glasgow 1999 office for sale reservations, while the latter will include a gallery and a viewing platform from which a rare view of the city skyline will be possible. Exhibitions as part of the event will include the work of Alexander 'Greek' Thomson, Richard Meier and Alvar Aalto. Speakers at the event in Foster and Partners' 'Armadillo' building will include Lord Richard Rogers, Ian Ritchie, Barcelona's Javier Mariscal - and perhaps even Sean Connery.

Inevitably much of the discussion was on the prospect of a new Scottish Parliament in the city which was runner-up in the race to become the designated city of architecture and design, Edinburgh. Sir Robert Smith, a Liberal Democrat member of the Environment and Transport team in the Commons, said that the parliament competition was a 'window of opportunity' to involve the public. The design should be flexible, for a pluralist parliament, and 'more open', to encourage the public into the building. 'I hope it will be a building that promotes Scotland,' he said.

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