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Vision to let go when a building has had its day

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My letter to you (AJ 26.4.01) appears to have stirred the 'hornets' nest' of architectural passion. Good! It is about time we had a constructive debate about the preservation of buildings from the past.

I want to see well-designed, beautiful buildings that are not only comfortable and pleasant to live, work or play in but also stir the 'soul'.

However, I recognise that society moves on, it changes, admittedly not always for the better, and architects, along with everyone else, need to accept and adapt to these changes.

I deliberately used the example of the Model T as it epitomises brilliant design combined with the vision of Henry Ford - just as Brynmawr's architecture and the vision of Lord Forrester do.

However, the fact is that no amount of brilliant engineering or vision can transform the Model T into anything remotely useful to 21st century society.

Where well-designed, inspirational, beautiful buildings from the past can be adapted to modern use then that is wonderful. I would even advocate some limited government assistance to overcome any financial 'gap'. But where they can't then we must, perhaps reluctantly, accept that their day is over.

Perhaps Brynmawr was the wrong example, but the point of my letter was that where a building cannot be adapted to modern use then it is better to use our energies to ensure that its replacement is equally as good, in 21st century terms, rather than fight lost causes and seeing once glorious buildings replaced by soulless 'sheds'.

Kenneth Dunning, Burntwood, Staffordshire

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