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Johnson waxes

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Astragal

Nonagenarian Philip Johnson is at work on a potential building in London, sources tell me, though the location and client are still secret. Let's hope the experience will be an improvement on the last time the Great Man tried his hand here. Back in the 80s he produced a kitsch version of the Houses of Parliament on the south side of the Thames, on the site near Tower Bridge now masterplanned by Foster and Partners. mps were furious at Johnson's lese-majeste, and the design was abandoned in favour of one by John Simpson, Chapman Taylor etc etc. Johnson fans were also disappointed; his scheme was neither a piece of proper Modernism, nor witty enough as a Post- Modern squib. It might have been better were Johnson to have invoked the spirit of one of his favourite London architects, J F Bentley, designer of Westminster Cathedral.

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