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Royal pain

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A suitably satirical tone was adopted by AJ publisher Paul Finch on Radio 4's Front Row last week, when Francine Stock asked for suggestions as to who might design a new palace for the Queen in line with Mo Mowlam's Buck House cleansing policy. Lord Foster could produce a glass bubble for the total transparency we apparently crave; king of Minimalism John Pawson would provide cupboards for unwanted table services, while Zaha Hadid's shard-like designs would reflect the splintering of the House of Windsor.

But top tip was Sir Michael Hopkins - traditional materials with a contemporary twist, and of course the architect who designed the ticket booth for the Mall, where you buy tickets to wander through the Palace. Finch noted that evicting an elderly couple from their home of many decades, and then forcing modern architecture down their throats, was 'an idea that went out with the 60s'.

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