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Cook's tour

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Embattled Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has emerged as a defender of architecture against the Treasury mandarins, by rejecting criticism of our new embassy in Moscow - designed by abk - for costing 'a fortune'. It represented, he said, 'value for money'. The £80 million project was awarded to abk more than 10 years ago, in what many saw as partial compensation for the commercial damage inflicted on the practice by Prince Charles's ill-advised attack on its proposed 'monstrous carbuncle' extension to the National Gallery. The new building, which will include flats for 31 diplomats to save huge sums in rents, will use British contractors following the debacle a few years ago, when the us embassy, built with Russian bricks and labour, was found to be riddled with electronic eavesdropping devices. It was demolished.

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