You mean you have never seen it?

It’s always nice to tick off the omissions

There is a radio programme called ‘I’ve never seen Star Wars‘ in which people confess the popular things they have never done – and then do them. I have never seen Star Wars, but more important, for an architecture writer, are the buildings that I have not seen.

There’s little shame in having missed Kansai Airport, or Zaha’s creations in far-flung parts of Asia, but when they are closer to home it is more embarrassing. OK, I confess, I have still to get to the new Design Museum, but it is on my list for this year.

One of the longer-standing omissions was Hopkins’ opera house at Glyndebourne. Perhaps this is understandable since tickets for performances are so expensive and hard to get hold of. But such an important building which, when constructed in 1993, pioneered the renaissance of lime mortar.

So I was delighted when, on a short break in Sussex last week, we drove past it. As is so common with buildings seen in the flesh, it was different. Not, as so often happens, smaller than expected, but, I think, bigger.

From our distance the roof dominated, rising from the dip in the landscape and echoing the downs around. Dammit, this building is exciting!

So, that’s one ticked off. Plenty more to go, however, and I still wouldn’t say no if any opera tickets are going spare…

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