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Q & A - Alistair Barr Barr Gazetas

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When and where were you born?

1957, Northampton.

What is your favourite building and why?

La Tourette - it crystallises Le Corbusier's forms and theories up to that date and looks beyond them into his future.

What is your favourite restaurant/meal?

Restaurant: outside at Odettes, Primrose Hill. Meal: dim sum at Hakkasan, London.

What vehicle(s) do you own?

Volvo V70.

What is your favourite film?

Cabaret. It has Fosse, Minnelli and Isherwood in the right proportions. See motto below.

What is your favourite book?

George Perec's Life: A User's Manual - an entire microcosm brought to life in a Paris apartment block.

What is your favourite 'design classic'?

The '66 Mustang that I bought on my first trip to the US.

Who or what is your biggest architectural influence and why?

Le Corbusier. Somewhere in the Oeuvre ComplÞte there is an answer to most current design problems. You just have to look beyond the disastrous townplanning proposals.

If you hadn't been an architect, what would you have been?

A writer on urban design. My three published papers to date were very fulfilling.

What would your advice be to architectural students?

Draw all your ideas all the time to test them - talking is not enough.

What would your motto be?

From John Lanchester's The Debt to Pleasure (1996), page 96:

'The law is: main ingredient (gin), subordinate ingredient (vermouth) and grace-note (lemon twist, olive). This is the law of proportion and rhythm that underlies all of the plastic arts, from cocktail-making and cooking to architecture, sculpture, pottery and dressmaking.'

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