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Old 05-10-2008, 10:16 PM
michelej1 michelej1 is offline
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[This was an article on buildings around the Thames that tourists visited. This excerpt mentions that Christine McVie is neighbor to Kate Bush]

Independent (London), September 25, 1999

By this stage of our Open House explorations, my spouse was freely expressing her view that London had an excess of surrealism avant la lettre, so we switched to modern architecture. Our first stop was in Camberwell, where we popped into an erstwhile button factory that had been converted into the open-plan home and practice of an architectural couple. It looked divine, but the "crunchy" nature of the district caused a few problems during the alterations. "It took a little longer than we planned because of invasions by burglars," explained Selina Eger.

After clanking up the industrial metal stairs, we emerged into a kitchen and roof garden ("Very nice," salivated Mrs W) with a vista of Victorian spires and office blocks. "God and mammon," observed our hostess. Mrs Eger was particularly proud of her staircase balustrades made from the corrugated plastic customarily used for greenhouse roofing. "My husband argued against it," she remarked, "but I won."

Afterwards, we whizzed along to another architectural studio in Battersea. Responsible for such modest projects as Stansted Airport, the refurbished Reichstag, the new Canary Wharf tube station, not to mention a proposed Volcano Theme Park in California, Foster & Associates operates from a single room - though you can forget any idea of an artist's garret. This atelier happens to be a great, airy space 60 metres long by 24 metres wide. Like his fellow architects in Camberwell, Sir Norman literally lives above the shop. He occupies the penthouse of a block built over the studio. Kate Bush and Christine McVie are his stellar neighbours.

Seen through the wall of plate-glass, the Thames was elegant, stylish and grey, as if it too had been designed by Sir Norman and his chums. In the vast studio, screen-savers on the seemingly infinite rows of VDUs flashed up images of Foster buildings. So peaceful and spacious, I remarked to our architect guide. "You should see it on Monday morning when we've got 470 people in here," he replied.

Under the high ceiling hung odd circles of material. "A new design of loudspeaker," explained our guide. Envisaging all these top-flight creative types beavering away to the strains of Radio Two, I asked what these fancy- pants tannoys were used for. "Oh announcements," our guide replied. " 'It's Norman's birthday, please come for a drink.' That sort of thing."
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