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Q & A - Amin Taha Amin Taha Architects

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Where and when were you born?

East Berlin, 1969 - my parents left Iraq and Sudan at 17, fell in love with each other and a socialist future and stayed there for 15 years before moving to Southend.

What is your favourite building and why?

I admire the unity in Herzog & de Meuron's Tokyo Prada and Toyo Ito's MediathÞque.

What is your favourite restaurant/meal?

Bens d'avall, Deia, for the generosity of a client following a site visit, and a very surprising introduction to all-day nudism.

What vehicle(s) do you own?

A VW Golf, inherited after my dog ate the dashboard, seat belts and rear-view mirror of a client's car. He now drives a Maserati.

What is your favourite film?

Recently, Dogville.

What is your favourite book?

I've just finished Kapuscinski's Another Day of Life - it's genteel and then the bloody chaos of Angola during Portugese withdrawal.

What is your favourite 'design classic'?

The Pylon and Knotted chairs.

What is the worst building you've ever seen and why?

The unhappy brick sumo wrestler at the bottom of our road - planning malaise plus local amenity groups.

Who or what is your biggest architectural influence and why?

Borromini for plasticity and seductive journeys. Corb for the spectrum of investigation and resolution of ideas.

Who is the most talented architect you've worked with?

They all have a strong idiosyncratic talent I have to respect.

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

Max Bialystock in The Producers.

What would your advice be to architectural students?

Experiment and persist.

What would your motto be?

'Take large sketch pads when working with naturists'.

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