Can Michael Caine teach us about architecture?

Last night, after the opening of Phil Coffey’s lovely new library at the BFI, guests were invited to a special showing of Get Carter, the film in which Michael Caine famously throws a villain off the top of the since-demolished Owen Luder designed car park in Gateshead. It really is a great film, even if it does make you wonder how Caine’s character can remain so athletic on a regime of cigarettes, whisky, sex, late nights and violence.

There is a funny vignette with the two architects who are designing a restaurant to go at the top of the structure. They are horrified by their client’s lack of aesthetic appreciation (we have seen his house, which they haven’t, so no surprises there), and on his bad manners in suddenly disappearing. Then as they see the mayhem on the street, and the police arriving, one says to the other ‘I don’t think we will be getting our fee on this project’.

In a week in which it has been made clear how little the role of architects is understood, does this help or hinder?









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