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James Gorst, James Gorst Architects

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Q&A

When and where were you born?

1950, Felixstowe, Suffolk.

What is your favourite building and why?

Pozzo di San Patrizio by Antonio da Sangallo, Orvieto: an architectural well driven 63m into the rock to protect the siege-vulnerable city.

Intertwining helical ramps lit by 72 arched windows gave the water-carrying donkeys access to the spring at its base. An epic dream like a piece of buried architecture.

What is your favourite restaurant/meal?

A cassoulet in a good cafe with a view of the bay on a winter's day in vieux Marseille.

What vehicle(s) do you own?

An Audi A6 2.8, with magnolia leather, burr walnut.Hmm? nice.

What is your favourite film?

Scorsese's Casino.

What is your favourite book?

Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier.

What is your favourite 'design classic'?

The Illy coffee tin.

What is the worst building you've ever seen and why?

Tate Modern.Never has so much money been so discreetly concealed.

Who or what is your biggest architectural influence and why?

The oak-framed barns of East Anglia: my first childhood intimations of the power of architectural space.Silent and cool on a summer's day, deep in shade, with occasional baroque flashes of sunlight.Very dramatic.Most of them have now gone.

Who is the most talented architect you've worked with?

Gavin Hogben.

If you hadn't been an architect, what would you have been?

Richer.

What would your advice be to architectural students?

I wouldn't presume.

What would your motto be?

He who tends a garden, still his Eden keeps.

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