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Egg on his tie

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Who would have thought it? A cover headline in the Sunday Times 'Culture' section reading: 'Bad egg - Why Norman Foster's gone off the boil' introduced a full frontal attack on the practice's Greater London Authority building, the 'Glass Eye' close to Tower Bridge on the south side of the Thames. The piece was not, unusually for an architectural critique of this sort, penned by the st's architecture correspondent Hugh Pearman, but instead by cultural critic Bryan Appleyard (among other things biographer of Richard Rogers). His argument about the use of glass and funny shapes ended with a call to John Prescott to call in the design for public inquiry, which is certainly what would happen were the building not the favoured choice of the government. Ironically, Appleyard is a good friend of Will Alsop, designer of the rival Bloomsbury scheme, and acknowledged this in his piece. But he said he was unaware of the Alsop scheme until after the decision was made, and in any event would not necessarily have supported it! The only worrying thing about the article was the gruesome accompanying illustration of a Sunday Times proposal for the site. It made Norman's scheme look like the greatest thing since, well, the Reichstag building.

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