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Q & A - James Pickard Cartwright Pickard Architects

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When and where were you born?

1962, Harrogate in North Yorkshire.

What is your favourite building?

Bagsvaerd Church in Copenhagen, 1976, by J°rn Utzon.

What is your favourite restaurant/meal?

Pan fried, thick-cut, medium-rare sirloin steak served with a wild mushroom and whisky sauce.

What vehicle(s) do you own?

A Mercedes CE320 coupe and the new Mini Cooper S.

What is your favourite film?

Gandhi.

What is your favourite book?

As a dyslexic, I tend to favour short stories. My favourite is Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, which could be an appropriate parody of the life of an architect in Britain today.

What is your favourite 'design classic'?

The Snowball light fitting designed by Poul Henningsen, the founder of Louis Poulsen.

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

This is impossible to answer as there are so many horrible buildings about but the commercial development occupying the encircled Island site in Hammersmith bounded by Hammersmith flyover and Hammersmith Broadway is awful.

Who or what is your biggest architectural influence and why?

Alvar Aalto. After spending a week in Finland visiting the best of his work, it couldn't be anyone else.

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

Peter Foggo.

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

A film director.

What would your advice be to architectural students?

Learn how buildings are made and built, not just how to design them.

What would your motto be?

Work hard, have fun and make history.

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