News & Events


News: two new BBC2 Culture Show architecture specials

Plotting and planning... We're currently in the planning stages for two new Culture Show architecture specials for BBC2. The first, airing on September 12, is on the future of libraries in a digital age, timed around the opening of the new Birmingham Library by Dutch architects Mecanoo. The second, airing on October 3, is on the journey British architecture has been on since the dog days of the early 1990s, and where it might be heading next. Filming for both starts in August.

What have you done today Mervyn Day?

With other writers, I was asked to write a short essay to accompany the release by the BFI on 15 July of a new DVD of films by the pop band Saint Etienne, A London Trilogy, more of which here. My essay was about their 2005 film, What have you done today Mervyn Day? Here it is.

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RIP Oscar Niemeyer II

I met Oscar Niemeyer in 2007, just before his 100th birthday to film an interview with him for BBC2's The Culture Show. This is the result.


RIP Oscar Niemeyer

We shall not see the likes of Oscar Niemeyer again. Here’s an article I wrote for The Times in 2007 when I met him in Rio for the first and last time.

Oscar Niemeyer is 100 on Saturday, and boy, does he look every minute of it. He totters out, fragile, whiskery, cloaked in cigar smoke, from his tiny studio, helped at his elbow by his new young(er) wife, Vera, shuffling inch by inch. This titan of architecture, who once battled with Le Corbusier, who designed whole cities, defined the look of postwar Brazil like Joao Gilberto defined its sound, who prefigured postmodernism in architecture, who began his career before the Wall Street Crash and who, in his youth was the brooding image of Marlon Brando, is now shrunken, delicate and ancient as a Ming vase. It’s like meeting a legend, a name from the history books — Rodin, say, Picasso or Jesse James — and, yes, they’re loads, loads teenier than they look in the photos.

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Welcome, one and all: the sorrows and pleasures of living in interesting times

This is my first blog, and my first website. I am, I know, extremely, unfashionably late to the digital party. Shame on me.

I have no sound excuses, save laziness. I’ve always admired those who find the time and wherewithal at the end of a day’s work to carry on writing, though never quite enough to actually do anything about it.

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