OK, so I may have been a little mean about the London Architecture Biennale. I confess I was put off by the 'themed' nature of the event, 'Change'. As in presumably, 'Change, sponsored by the Corporation of London'. But a couple of things have made me more sympathetic to the whole endeavor.
First of all, an entertainingly pointless debate, '1960s Architecture- Iconic or Eyesore?' (surely another to add to Penman's list of infuriating uses of the word 'iconic'). In the all-red interior of the Starr Auditorium of the middle-class disco ('this is not a political position' says one wag on the panel) this was principally interesting for having therein the two poles of the debate- Rodney Gordon, one of Owen Luder's partners on the tragically late Tricorn Centre; and facing him, Prince Charles' favourite architect and defender of the architectural legacy of Albert Speer, Quinlan Terry.
Much of the 'debate' circled round the usual stuff- Terry's magnificently bored patrician disdain (he described being a persecuted classicist in the 60s as 'like Soviet Russia- anyone who stood against the brave new world got knocked down'...ahh) offsetting Gordon and a woman from the 20th century society's unrepentant joy for concrete and all it entails. Difficult to stifle a cheer when one of Terry's diatribes was interjected with 'so you'd like us to live in a Feudal System?' 'We do!' he bizarrely (if interestingly) replied. (anyone listening to the Radio 3 broadcast of this tonight will have the pleasure of hearing me gauchely asking a question about the disintegration of community postwar and being told 'you can't blame Thatcher for the 60s')
The other nice bit involved an exhibition on the Golden Lane Estate of the original designs along with utensils specially designed for the estate, while harp music played in the background...appealed to the (thinly disguised) sentimentalist in me. And there's even a thing on redesigning public toilets! Sigh...