Friday, 22 March 2013

Hopkins 3

To Hopkins Architects' Wellcome Trust building in Euston Road for the launch of the latest book of their work, Hopkins 3.  Their Wellcome client introduced the evening with unreserved praise for a building now nearly ten years old that still looks as as good as new (partly due, I learn later, to Wellcome's luck or wisdom in retaining long serving staff who look after and run the building as it was meant to be looked after and run - something that is not as common as it should be).

The quality, consistency and rigour of the architecture in the book, from the Wellcome building to the Olympic Velodrome - taking in along the way a surprisingly diverse range, including small country house interventions and cricket stands in India along with the better known known projects - is entirely unmatched by any other UK practice over that period.  Of course Hopkins have been fortunate in the quality of their list of major institutional clients with an interest in building properly and for the long term - not least in a sequence of university projects on the Eastern seaboard of the US.  The budgets evident in most of the work will be envied by many architects who read the book - while a big budget is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for great architecture, it certainly doesn't do any harm.

The built results mostly look effortless - we can be sure they weren't.

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