This week with Leonard Manasseh
How would you spend your day indulging in cultural pursuits?
I do like painting so I’d spend it scribbling and drawing away — I think I’m quite a good architect, but I’ve no pretensions as a painter though I do it enjoy it. Perhaps I’d be in France in the house that I built in my dotage.
What one book is indispensable to you?
I’ve got too many — I don’t really read a lot anymore and I want to get rid of a lot of them. But I do like books on architecture and autobiographical ones. I’ve just started Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code and I’ve just bought The Story of God — a personal journey into the world of science and religion by Robert Winston.
What’s the best exhibition you’ve ever been to?
The Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy is usually pretty good. I quite like going to exhibitions and if there was a good one on I’d go. But they don’t have the sorts of exhibitions I used to like at the RIBA anymore, where architects submitted their work.
What cultural figures would you invite to your dinner party?
I’d have John and Frances Sorrell who are a very nice pair and the architects Nick Eldridge and Piers Smerin. John and Frances lived in a house I had designed back in the fifties or sixties . One day I met her outside and she was terribly worried because these young architects Eldridge Smerin were planning to build something around the house I’d built, and she thought I wouldn’t like it. But it’s marvellous — a brilliant crystal palace surrounding my brick house. She was so relieved that I was fine about it that she brought one of my paintings on the spot.
Leonard Manasseh, architect of the National Motor Museum and a former president of the AA, discusses his career with Margaret Richardson on November 24, 6.30pm, at the John Madejski Fine Rooms, Royal Academy, Piccadilly, London. Tel: 020 7300 5839.