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Jane Duncan on Jane Duncan

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As Jane Duncan takes up the RIBA presidency she talks to the AJ about food, films, holidays, and who would play her in a film of her life

What is your favourite building and why?
It’s impossible to say one building. But right now Portland Place [the RIBA’s HQ] makes me feel really proud.

What is your favourite song?
Right now, and in relation to my presidency, it has to be High Hopes by Pink Floyd

What is your favourite film?
The Matrix

What is your favourite food?
Tapas

Who is your favourite architect?
Frank Lloyd Wright

What is your favourite holiday destination?
An island in Greece

What is your most treasured possession?
A collection of artworks by members of my family

Who would play you in a film of your life?
Angelina Jolie – she is very intelligent

What is the worst thing anyone has said to you?
I have a selective memory. I don’t remember the bad things.

If you could edit your past what would you change?
Nothing

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Enjoy yourself. If it’s not fun then don’t do it.

Who is the best architect you have worked with?
I’ve spent most of my life working as a sole-practitioner. I really have very little experience working with other architects. But I have huge respect for all those I have worked with during my time at the RIBA.

What was the wildest night out you have had with an architect?
When I was working with William Halcrow and Partners, they used to have an annual party in the Royal Albert Hall. It was a huge and glitzy affair.

Who would you like to invite to a dinner party [living or dead]?
Grayson Perry, the musician Daniel Barenboim, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Denise Scott Brown, and Reyner Banham – he was my tutor at university

If you could demolish one building which would it be and why?
I couldn’t pick a particular building but I would change certainly change some. I don’t think demolition is always the answer, we should be doing more to reuse and repurpose buildings. But some I saw in Estonia – prefab flats – should be demolished. People really shouldn’t be living in them.

If you hadn’t been an architect what would you have done?
Archaeology – I was obsessed with it as a youngster

Would you recommend a career in architecture to your children?
If they listened to me, then yes. I’d have been happy for them to be an architect.

How would you like to be remembered?
As a facilitator

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Jane, Neil Bennett here in Doha,,,,you inspired me many years ago at The RIBA Small Practice Conference and you still inspire me today. Continue Inspiring and Facilitating other Architects and have a great Presidency. You deserve it.

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