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Sir John Sorrell recently asked architects to name features of the built environment that delight them. What would your answer have been, and why?

I think that there is nothing more incredible about London than the sewers. Not just the pure scale of the endeavour, but the fact that you are never more than a few metres from them. An extraordinary vision, built by hand, that allowed London to grow and people to avoid illness. Extraordinary and unseen by many, it’s the most used and under-appreciated piece of architecture of all, perhaps.
Luke Pearson, Director, Pearson Lloyd

I have always been fascinated by the concept of the sceno-graphic city. Some Transport for London hubs are particular favourites: the historic ‘Pinewood Studios’ settings of Farringdon or Kew Gardens, or the grand-scale sci-fi interiors of stations such as Westminster or Canary Wharf. It should be acknowledged that these Modernist Jubilee Line stations resulted from a particularly visionary commissioning client, Roland Paoletti – often the missing link in our struggle to improve the built environment.
Peter Higgins, Creative director, Land Design Studio

Variety of scale, vintage and style: small and
big streets and buildings; new and old; grand and vernacular. Variety of use: post offices and libraries alongside upscale joints, care homes and job centres; independent enterprises for individuality and chains for economic mettle; houses as well as businesses. Wide pavements to signal that a street is a pedestrian promenade, not just an artery for motorised vehicles. Secret conduits that only pedestrians can use. Public clocks that work. Steps.
Emily Campbell, Director of design, Royal Society of Arts

I’ve lived in a high-rise block on the Isle of Dogs for 30 years and, having seen the regeneration of London Docklands taking place, one thing has pleased me. Planning rules require the riverfront to be given over to the public, and as each derelict warehouse made way for luxury apartments, an almost continuous footpath along the Thames has been revealed – thus recognising that a sympathetic relationship between the natural and built environments is essential for healthy city living.
Malcolm Garrett, Creative director, Applied Information Group

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