I really can't see what K Pickering's problem with the Kielder Observatory Competition is (AJ letters, 10.11.05).
I've visited Kielder and have to admit I was completely knocked out: James Turrell's Skyspace, Softroom's Belvedere, and Nick Coombe's Minotaur. Each is remarkable and radical and, I believe, they were built on minuscule budgets. The structures are, as Pickering says, 'hard and aggressive', but I found that this quality only complements their rugged landscape setting.
Coming from overseas myself, I appreciate that Kielder has something of a world-class reputation. I disagree with the assertion that Pickering makes - that projects of this quality could have been achieved if architect selection had been limited to those based in Northumberland only.
Wherever the architect for the observatory actually originates from, I have every confidence that the Kielder curatorial team will yet again get their selection absolutely spot on.
Rebecca Hepner, London EC2