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'Pop idol'Will is singing in the wrong key

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Will Alsop has made a major contribution to British architecture. Love him or hate him, his work is interesting.

However, it has to be said that some of his opinions do a discredit both to the profession and to himself. He has evidently jumped to conclusions about my qualities and opinions, based on false assumptions garnered from the press.

I shall never tire of London or of its great architecture, both new and old, but I do tire of the arrogant few - very few - who think that all architectural talent migrates to the capital.

I am proud of the city in which I have chosen to live and work, for all its faults, and I can recognise real talent within its architectural community. The same could be said of all the UK's regions, where Alsop's views will be deeply resented.

And they are not shared by many highly respected London-based architects, many of whom feel it is about time the RIBA had a President from another region.

However, what matters most is that we get the best leadership, and that those who feel strongly about it stand for election. I would have welcomed the challenge from Will, who should have run - not run away!

The Architecture Foundation adds a very important extra dimension to the London architectural scene, but it is ridiculous to advocate it as being any sort of alternative institute, or to write off the RIBA, which is internationally recognised as setting standards for architecture - a role it can always improve on - as some sort of trade union. To do so is simply to fall into the hands of those forces that militate against the status and function of chartered architects and against the quality of the built environment.

Alsop is, of course, free to make his own decisions, but he is misguided to think that his 'pop idol' status gives him license to encourage others to follow him. He has accepted my challenge to a debate on the future of the RIBA and I relish the opportunity to persuade him that we should bury our differences and unite in the promotion and advancement of architecture. It matters.

George Ferguson, Acanthus Ferguson Mann

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