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Prefabrication praise not before time

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I notice that in your editorial column of aj 29.4.99 you appear to have woken up to the fact that prefabrication in construction might be a good idea. I suppose this should be welcome as evidence of the architectural profession getting to grips with the early part, never mind the late part, of the twentieth century, perhaps escaping from the arts and crafts stranglehold which has made replica design in this country so awful for the last 60 years.

How is it that the lessons to be learned from the shipbuilding, car-manufacturing and microchip industries, to name but three, appear to have been lost on the sleeping giant that is called construction? How can a housebuilding industry with the traditions of the Elizabethan timber frame carry on building in a way that would be familiar at the start of this century?

These thoughts sprang to mind, particularly, given the substantial coverage afforded the new Lord's media centre, in your own organ and almost everywhere I looked last week. Let's hope the real message of this building - that light materials, prefabricated structure and proper attention to function can produce buildings that are beautiful - is taken to heart.

Ellis Lingard

London SE15

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