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Eighty not out

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The highlight of the architectural week was not MIPIM (see below), but the 80th birthday party of that most excellent of architectural knights, Sir Philip Powell. Held at the Royal Academy on Saturday evening, a splendid group of guests were greeted by Philip and Philippa, complete with an unexpected treat for the Great Man: a portrait by his daughter Dido. I noticed Mr and Mrs Richard Burton (Richard and ABK partner Paul Koralek both worked for Powell & Moya);

Mr and Mrs Bryan Jefferson; Mr and Mrs Michael Manser; Mr and Mrs Sunand Prasad; Mr and Mrs Kenneth Powell; Mr and Mrs John Winter; Mr and Mrs Peter Davey; John Partridge; and many others too numerous to mention. My favourite Powell story concerns an occasion at the Royal Fine Art Commission at which Lord St John of Fawsley was in full flow about matters rural. 'Without the English countryside, what would we have?' he intoned rhetorically. A short silence. Then a voice pipes up from the back: 'Well, there's always the Soane Museum.'

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