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Golden moments

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Has Barcelona really won the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture? Apparently the jury took advice and found that it had to go to a named individual or group of people, but interpreted that to include promoters (read clients) as well as designers: very useful for various re-election campaigns currently under way in Barcelona itself. 'Norman was very keen,' a source tells me, and anyway, 'we couldn't give it to Gehry the same year as the aia awarded him its Gold Medal.' It seemed a suitably end-of-century decision, playing to an anti-high-tech bias and showing that a city can be improved piecemeal rather than in a single grand gesture, much more appropriate than Alvaro Siza, the unofficial runner-up.

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