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Tuesday22 August 2017

Gove waxes lyrical over Amanda Levete

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Education Secretary Michael Gove described Amanda Levete as “Britain’s best architect” when he opened the practice’s Globe Academy in south London this week.

The politician who enraged architects when he twice accused them of “creaming off cash” during the BSF days left his spokesman scrabbling to explain his apparent passion for architecture.

“He is quite a cultured man,” said the spokesman. “He might know more about architecture than we all give him credit for. He can surprise sometimes with how much he knows about particular subjects. I wouldn’t rule it out that he has seen a lot of things [Levete] has done in the past and so said she is his favourite of all architects.”

After cutting the ribbon at the Globe – sponsored by ARK, the charity pioneering a number of free schools – Gove told pupils the building could be one of the best in Europe and he praised the governors and head for believing in “building for the future”.

“So much care and attention and the work of Britain’s best architect has gone into providing you with the best possible building in which to spend the next few years,” he said.

He said everyone involved in the design had “shaped a building which is impressive on the outside and beautiful on the inside” – the perfect environment to turn out young people sharing the same qualities.

Gove was accused of “breathtaking hypocrisy” by the leader of Southwark Council, a borough which saw its BSF programme spared.

Cllr Peter John said: “Speaking about building for the future and how important it was for pupils to have smart new buildings at a time when he has denied that opportunity to thousands of children across the country was surprising to say the least.”

Listen to Gove speaking at the Globe Academy with audio provided by SE1

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Readers' comments (14)

  • chris1608

    Anyone in the architectural profession who voted to empower this cabal of witless chumps should hang their heads in shame. The level of hypocrisy and ignorance in Gove and the gutless political pandering to the wealthy (begun under Labour) that this procurement engenders is sickening.

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  • SAndals23

    That's what he says today, but he will be forced to make an apology to the profession and back track tomorrow.
    Sigh

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  • @Christopher Moore.
    I am one who must hang my head in shame... I had thought I was voting to keep the "witless chumps" out by voting LibDem.

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  • I’m feeling a massive amount of rage about now...on many many levels.

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  • All credit to Ms Levete and her practice for showing that architects are not creaming off the cash and that good design for schools is essential if our education system is to develop.
    No credit is due to Mr. Gove!!

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  • I am dumbstruck by the new levels Mr Gove descended to... He never had much credibility and now he proved beyond any shadow of a doubt he has none whatsoever, just politicking, no subject matter knowledge, and... I could not be bothered any more, really, waste of time - a cause completely lost I am afraid.
    @SAndals23 - personally I do not wish to hear anything from Mr Gove about architecture and architects, and frankly about anything else, pleeeez!

    BTW, no disrespect to Amanda Levete but the photographs attached to the article above show the blandest building design available... if this kind of "architecture" is praised than there is no hope any more.

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  • he just gets worse.

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  • This guy is an ex-journalist and there is'nt an educationalist or architect in the panel that supports him....how are we expected to give his view's on school buildings and education any credibility?

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  • looks like .....anyone design cheap + bland building will be nominated for best architect by the Education Secretary. Agree with Peter L.

    Just imagine what will be in the next 10-20 years,......education status in this country. Worst than the third world countries.....school under the shed.

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  • Well done to Amanda Levete and all her team for demonstrating that architects are worth more than the likes of Mr. Gove normally credits us.

    I'm not sure why the penny has only just dropped for him, maybe reading books on Churchill has had a profound effect on his appreciation of architecture! 'We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us' - spoken by a respected figure of British politics about his childhood home Blenheim Palace - and then parroted by the hatchet man Mr. Gove!

    However, it is important to remember that many teams have already delivered similar school buildings, with improved pupil attainment results, under the very difficult circumstances presented by the now defunct BSF programme. Mr. Gove's magnanimous comments seem hollow after his earlier attacks on the profession.

    I'm not sure if Mr. Gove sees himself as a Churchill-esque figure, making difficult decisions for the greater good (his speech implied parallels), but if he is comparing himself to such a great leader that's laughable. I wish Mr. Gove would crawl back under the rock he slithered out from.

    Maybe there are many facets to Mr. Gove as alluded to by his spokesman, but you can guarantee that Mr. Gove will have both his feet in his mouth again within months!

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