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Sunday20 August 2017

New culture secretary reveals his architectural tastes

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Sajid Javid praises Zaha Hadid but prefers Pugin and Brunel

The new culture secretary has praised London’s changing skyline – but revealed that his own tastes are firmly stuck in the past.

Sajid Javid was speaking to BD for the first time about the architectural aspect of his broad portfolio.

He named the Palace of Westminster and Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge as examples of the architecture he likes most. Both date from the 19th century.

“My job is to encourage the creative industries,” he said. “I leave it to people to decide what they like. In every type of style I can find something I like but for me personally, historic structures are what appeal most.

“London’s skyline has had several new towers over the last few years and I think it looks great. It’s an example of the creative capital we have in this country.”

He described architecture as one of Britain’s “most important creative industries” and a key plank in the government’s creative industry strategy.

“We’ve had some of the greatest architects in the world traditionally and we want to continue that and ensure we keep doing great work here and around the world,” he said. He also described Zaha Hadid as “one of our greatest living architects”.

Javid, a former banker whose portfolio includes heritage and tourism as well as architecture, sport and the media, was promoted to the Cabinet from the Treasury in April after Maria Miller’s resignation over an expenses row. As the boss of architecture minister Ed Vaizey, he is ultimately responsible for listing decisions.

 

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Readers' comments (5)

  • If he had said that his favourite writers were Shakespeare and Dickens, or that his favourite composers were Mozart and Beethoven, would anyone describe his tastes as 'stuck in the past'?

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  • He probably doesn't ride a fixy bike either....loser!

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  • Austin Clegg

    @ Lead Balloon: Answer: no, of course not. Populist/mainstream Architectural discourse remains trapped in a mass of materialist/historicist/Marxist assumptions that are rarely applied to the other arts.
    It always amuses me just how reactionary are the musical/art/literary tastes of so many Architects who see themselves as radical modernists.

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  • SomeoneStoleMyNick

    If he had said that his favourite writers are Zadie Smith and Don DeLillo, or that his favourite composers were John Adams and Thomas Adès, would he be accused of being trapped in a mass of materialist/historicist/Marxist assumptions ?

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  • Austin Clegg

    The point here is not the man's tastes, but the use by the writer of the term 'stuck in the past' to denigrate his choice of designers.
    It is not even true, as elsewhere in the article it says how he likes the recent towers that grace the City.

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