If you’ve got it, flaunt it to an approving public

Amazing to see great contemporary architecture make such a showing in the national press this week. And despite the caption-writers’ insistence that Future Systems’ new media centre at Lord’s cricket ground in London is “futuristic”, this scheme is being built and has met with approbation, not contempt, even by the sports journalists who’ll use it.

It promises to be a great building, and a testimony to the unswerving conviction of both architect and client. There is no doubting the commitment of Future Systems partners Amanda Levete and Jan Kaplicky to elegant, minimal forms that do their jobs well and delight the senses. How often have we seen Levete and Kaplicky striving for the best in international contests, knowing that a more mundane scheme will win the day? And though the project might seem a bold act of faith by Lord’s guardian the Marylebone Cricket Club, it was the MCC which commissioned Sir Michael Hopkins to design the tented Mound Stand. The Mound Stand has won many a prize for its design and we can expect the Future Systems building to follow.

Strange isn’t it, that we’re told even by royalty that the British public can’t stomach modern architecture. Yet on the rare occasions a contemporary building gets through, everyone loves it. Witness Waterloo International, Nick Grimshaw’s glass and steel London terminal for the

Channel Tunnel train.

The same is true for contemporary design – as James Dyson has proved with his mould-breaking vacuum cleaners (see Profile, page 18). What manufacturer could match his conviction – and achieve such success? Dyson patently rates the chances of very few, given his decision to control the manufacturing.

People appreciate good design when they get the chance to see it. Design’s trade bodies might therefore do better to get a few inspirational stories into the national press than to go off separately yet again in tentative bids to get design on the political agenda (DW 6 September). But maybe that doesn’t sound sexy enough to them.

Lynda Relph-Knight

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