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Northern lights

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Leeds architects have also been pulling in the public, as well as professionals, to a series of presentations (titled '4 by 4') by local practices held at the city's school of architecture.

Visiting the city on an evening of sleet and fog, Astragal found a nearly full house for talks by ecospecialist Jonathan Lind of LEDA, media star Irena Bauman, Gordon Carey (of Carey Jones, Leeds' largest outfit) and Robin Machell of West & Machell (which also seems to be doing very nicely).

Though Bauman, in the most exploratory of four inspiring 15 minute slots, expressed some doubts as to whether Leeds really wants innovative architecture, the mood was generally upbeat. So it should be: the city is booming and the days of the planner-directed, red-brick 'Leeds Look' - first highlighted in the AJ - are long gone. These days, it seems, the planners are apt to criticise schemes for being 'too traditional' and there is even sympathy for high buildings. Series organiser Ian Tod of Allen Tod plans a gathering at the RIBA Regional office on 4 April to discuss ways in which the series can be followed up and a real architectural culture generated in Leeds. Judging by the animated talk in the pub after the event, the city's architects are beginning to enjoy the new era of interaction.

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