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Quirks and foibles are lost in the translation

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Louis Hellman should not be so harsh on Mr Etchells (AJ 1.3.01).

In his introduction to Ve r s Une Architecture, he has already explained the quirks and foibles of uninterpretable colloquialisms in the original French text of Le Corbusier. And, as we can read in Marc Treib's Space Calculated in Seconds, Le Corbusier did not write particularly well in French, which created significant problems with translation into English.

We must also remember that Etchells was writing in a certain idiosyncratic epoch of interpretation, though it would appear that in actual fact it was Edwin Lutyens who, in his book review of the English version in the Architectural Review, caused the long-standing misinterpretation of the book.

On another matter, I have not been watching the BBC series Art That Shook The World, but I can tell you exactly which building shook my world.

It shook me when I was six years old, when I copied a photograph of the Taj Mahal from the Children's Encyclopaedia of Knowledge. At that time it was my epitome of love. It inspired me to become an architect.

Then, 20 years later, I discovered that I would have been better off becoming the client. I am led to passion!

Malcolm Dickson, London

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