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More thoughts onthe droopy dome

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letters

Thank you for your uncharacteristically hype-free expose of the pompous and droopy 'dome' which Blair-Mandelson presumably think is such a wiz they took Chirac and Jospin to the top of Cesar Pelli's (must get it in the pix) tower to admire.

I wouldn't be surprised if the French pair found its similarity to a twelve-year-old's birthday cake all too obvious, and I would guess they were spared the welcome news that it is dead cheap at £500/m2, has all been done before in the us, and will be graced with the sacred relics of the Queen of Hearts' wardrobe.

I wonder if they were impressed by its over-engineered masts, which resemble a cross between Trinity House buoys and the worst bits of Foster's Renault building, and maybe they felt a flicker of recognition at its Eiffel-like quadrapods, the only bit which looks 'designed' to my eyes.

With any luck there were old copies of Dan Dare comics scattered on Terence Conran's exquisite sofas to help them imagine the brave old future it is an odyssey into. I guess the ptfe-coated owner would have kept out of mind any comparisons with his grandfather's 1951 Dome of Discovery or Skylon.

All the same, if all the nearly level but catenary fabric which makes a virgin of the very obviously undersized oculus doesn't pond as it deflects 0.5m under wind load or grow algae waiting for a dry spell, I will be impressed. Until then, long live anticlassic curvature and the king of 'Imagination' that gave the world Bilbao's new museum or indeed the Store Street hq. Remember Wembley stadium was built as part of the 'British Empire Exhibition'. It's not very good, is it? Know the nasty feeling when the substance of imagination runs out but it's inflatable mental structures get strung-up?

GORDON MACLAREN

Wyatt MacLaren, London E9

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