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Q & A - Chris Dyson Chris Dyson Architects

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Where and when were you born?

Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, on 6 October 1964 (son of a cloth dyer).

What is your favourite building and why?

Kimbell Art Museum by Louis Kahn - the play of silvery light over the vaulted structure, solidity and nobility - plus it makes me smile!

What is your favourite restaurant/meal?

The Perho Restaurant in Helsinki - a trainee restaurant with exceptional fish dishes and good wine.

What vehicle(s) do you own?

A five-seat Canadian kayak canoe;

a Volvo P1800PS for weekends; a Piaggio X9-125cc for town; and a bicycle - offers welcome!

What is your favourite film?

Get Carter (place), Tampopo (food) or The Deer Hunter (friends).

What is your favourite book?

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

What is your favourite design classic?

The Porsche 911S.

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

St Mary's Hospital, Paddington.

It is ugly and unresponsive to its beautiful site next to Paddington Basin. It should be demolished.

Health buildings should be uplifting for the mind and body.

Who or what is your biggest architectural influence and why?

Louis Kahn - for his use of massive walls, clarity of thought and exquisite detailing.

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

There are three: Jim Stirling, Michael Wilford and Terry Farrell.

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

An explorer - I love the sea.

What would your advice be to architectural students?

Look, draw, learn, and enjoy the freedom to invent your own designs.

What would your motto be?

'Live life to the max and grab life by the balls - be an architect!'

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