Back in London, I went to a talk by Canadian architect Brian Mackay-Lyons, who has built timber houses on the coastline of Nova Scotia.
Speaking at a seminar on timber design, he recalled his struggles at architecture school when drawing on Nova Scotia's boat-building traditions: 'They told me I was a hick, but it is better to be a first-rate hick than a third-rate European architect.' He defended vernacular buildings as 'the only reliable models of sustainability. When Renzo Piano puts four skins on a building, I don't call it sustainable - I call it expensive.' More 'resistance and independence'?