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We need to see the funny side

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I entirely agree with all that Peter Studdert says in his letter (aj 17/24.12.98). There is no division between us, other than that created in the imagination of your own reporter. On Tuesday 17 November at 16.00, I gave a talk here to children as a part of Architecture Week. I wanted to explain to them the elaborate process of negotiation that one goes through when designing and building a building. As an illustration, I took the maths project and I drew them pictures, on the overhead projector, of the scheme as it developed and cartoons of mythical local residents and their own houses and of the Royal Fine Art Commission in session: all for fun and to make them aware of what we do. We had a good time and after I'd finished many of the children came up and drew their own maths projects and their own houses, learning a great deal in the process. From the letters we received, it was obviously a great success.

The next evening, between 18.00 and 20.00, was a session for adults at which I gave a brief report of what had gone on with the children as an introduction to explaining our scheme for the University of East London in detail. The aj's reporter was there, but completely ignored the main theme of the talk, got the wrong end of the stick about the night before and produced the totally predictable 'bash the planners' piece which you published.

I was extremely distressed when I read it. I have the greatest respect for Peter Studdert; without him the maths project would not now be under way in its present form, or so successfully. It's a great shame that he was so needlessly upset by this sad little article.

Sir, I ask you what is the point of an Architecture Week if we cannot use it to enlighten one another with some verve and a little humour?


London N1

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