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Last Thursday it was raining when I got up and I was looking forward to reading the AJ while enjoying my toast and marmalade, but when it plonked onto the doormat, the cover [Hawkins\ Brown/Culverin Court, AJ 26.10.06], revealed what must be the most depressing building you have chosen to feature in the magazine for a long time.

The article is not helped by the photographs, which seem to have been taken on a wet winter's day (or is the large birch tree featured in one picture just dead? ).

The AJ normally has a high standard of critical writing and illustration, but I found Andrea Wulf's text difficult to reconcile with the poor photographs. Does this dreary building really 'shine like a gem in a chamber of horrors'?

Admittedly, the 1870s school is not the most inspiring example of Victorian architecture, but we could only see small glimpses of the red brick 'horrors'.

We could see enough of one of them, however, to judge that the new building would make some of the balconies on the adjoining block most unpleasant to use.

I find it puzzling that architects felt justified in using expensive but dreary imported bricks when there are so many splendid local bricks available, but even these glazed bricks are staining badly with run-off from the balconies.

I do hope that by your next issue you will have found something to match your usual high standards.

Robert Huddleston, Bristol

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