Powell, Sir Philip. (18 of 20). National Life Story Collection: Architects' Lives

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  • Interviewees

    Powell, Sir Philip, 1921-2003 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Brodie, Louise, (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 18. Still about Conference Centre - built in two halves, one on top of a bunker, the other on solid ground - the complications of that and how it was solved. Had good engineers to work with. Difficulty of fitting in with the neighbouring buildings. No imitation of style but sympathy with scale of surroundings. Next job discussed: the power station. Philip Powel [PP] thinks they got approval easily as 'bosses' thought it was more engineering work and that architects were not so important. Worked with McAlpines and Taylor Woodrow. They liked working with architect for McAlpines whom they knew. Nuclear power stations where changes had frequently to be made. PP explains complication of the structure. The worry about nuclear power. Opened in 1986. Review of their work - later work less exciting. Trying not to specialise but lately engulfed in hospital building. One interesting building was Holloway College amalgamated with Bedford College. They were the 'master planners' - laboratories, arts buildings, residential building. Hospitals now built with Private Financial Investment and what that means - less importance of architect with competitive tenders, going for the cheapest. PP does not like the present way of doing things. Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital job is an exception. Difficulty was to reconstruct hospital while keeping it open all the time.

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