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Choleric column

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My good friend Piloti, over in the 'Nooks and Corners' column of the ever-entertaining Private Eye , has got his knickers in a twist over Michael Hopkins' new Forum building in Norwich. He has given it the Hugh Casson Medal for the worst building of 2001, in 'a bad year for architecture as for everything else'. All is not well with the building, he thinks, which features one of the 'unbroken repetitive, boring' perimeter walls beloved of the architect, here of red brick, and an atrium which he believes is 'just a giant lobby for commercial office space'. But at least there are a few reasons for optimism, he reports. Step forward The Architects' Journal . Piloti again: 'Now perhaps, the tide is beginning to turn and architectural journalists are waking up to the fact that they should be critics rather than public relations lackeys.' A charm offensive is under way. He liked the Christmas AJ, which criticised two Foster schemes with, he feels, admirable accuracy: 'A massive, banal proposed addition to Selfridge's and the huge, overweening commercial development which threatens to ruin what is left of Spitalfields, ' he calls them. In the case of Selfridge's, at least, Piloti might have called the local planning authority to account for trying to impose its design will on the architect. Foster should come out fighting.Thank goodness Piloti didn't attack the GLA building.

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