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FRANCOPHOBIA

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ASTRAGAL

The Royal Gold Medal extravaganza at the RIBA last week was the usual star-studded event, with gold medallists Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron rubbing shoulders with the likes of Odile Decq, Kazuyo Sejima, Rem Koolhaas, Ken Livingstone and Kevin McCloud.

The real star of the evening, however, was the Swiss ambassador, possibly the only man ever to have upstaged Herzog and de Meuron.

Delivering a vote of thanks he said: 'People have been asking me whether Herzog and de Meuron are considered iconic in Switzerland. We do not have iconic personalities in Switzerland, we just have highly respected people'. And there was little doubt of his excellency's respect for the original Swiss starchitect, Le Corbusier, despite the fact that 'later he became French.' The ambassador's final word on the matter?

'Nobody's perfect.'

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