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Q & A Anthony Cooper Breathe Architecture

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When and where were you born?

1969, Durban, South Africa.

What is your favourite building and why?

My rented house, because I need to live in it daily.

What is your favourite restaurant/meal?

A rare Aberdeen Angus steak cooked on a sizzling hot barbecue, and my favourite red wine.

What vehicle(s) do you own?

A bicycle and a Beetle.

What is your favourite film?

Mitt Liv Som Hund ('My Life as a Dog') - a Lasse Hallström film.

What is your favourite book?

A Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela.

What is your favourite 'design classic'?

An E-type Jaguar.

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

All residential developments springing up in Cambridge and Cambourne: too much of the same will we never learn?

Who or what is your biggest architectural influence and why?

Alvar Aalto, for making complex design and planning issues seem effortless, and Glenn Murcutt, for reinforcing ideas about material, aspect, climate and form.

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

My university lecturers, Jo Noero and Lone Poulsen, who never accepted second best or whimsical design, and said: 'Every line you draw has meaning, so draw it confidently.'

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

A photographer.

What would your advice be to architectural students?

Never give up on your morality and principles. If and when you do, make sure you have a bloody good reason, while promising yourself to make up for it later.

What would your motto be?

Quisque sibi verus ('to thine own self be true').

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