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Selfridges' skirt fails to lift the spirits

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Joe Holyoak is to be congratulated on his letter about the Selfridges building in Birmingham (AJ 24.6.04). I had been tempted to address a similar theme myself.

Delayed at New Street Station, an architectural disgrace, for 90 minutes, I ventured out at about 7.30pm to explore the environs between the Selfridges building and the pre-existing St Martins Church - now dominated by the department store.

Mr Holyoak and I share major reservations about the ugly skirt area of the new building.

At night it is particularly depressing - and somewhat creepy. The innovative discs suddenly terminate and a great opportunity has been lost either to introduce display windows or restaurants to brighten up a dismal area in the heart of the city.

I claim that architecture is only successful when a building is adequate both internally and externally at all levels and in all locations, during both day and night.

Unfortunately, small models and computer-generated views do not address many of the important minutiae of buildings (and avant-garde bridges) for the human beings close to the structures at ground level.

Clients beware!

John Stubb Barton-on-Sea, Hampshire

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