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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 June, 2005, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
Design champion 'to enhance Kent'
The Turner Contemporary design
Mr Gough said Turner Contemporary would be 'whizz-whazz'
Architect Piers Gough has been taken on as Kent's design champion to work on projects including plans for tens of thousands of homes in the county.

At the start of National Architecture Week, he said his job was to help Kent County Council ensure building would enhance not detract from the county.

He said it was important to learn from the past, but avoid maudlin nostalgia.

Government house-building plans affect areas including Ashford, the Thames Gateway and parts of Surrey and Sussex.

Mr Gough presented a TV programme on building in Britain called The Shock of the Old and is a commissioner for English Heritage.

We have to believe in what we are doing and understand what we are doing and express what we are doing through the language of architecture
Piers Gough

"I have a fascination with the past and what it tells us about the way in which people lived at the time.

"All the great architecture of the past was built when people expressed their times and expressed the ideas of their times.

"The more successfully they did that, the more successfully their buildings come down to us," he told BBC Radio Kent.

"I think we have to learn from that, which is we have to believe in what we are doing and understand what we are doing and express what we are doing through the language of architecture."

He said people should not "do some ghastly pastiche of the past and express ideas that are already a hundred years out of date".

Public lavatory fame

And he added: "It is important that architecture does not go backwards on itself and is not used as a vehicle for a kind of maudlin, retro-nostalgia."

Mr Gough said he was best known for Docklands developments in London, and a public lavatory that helped to regenerate Notting Hill, west London.

Events in Kent during National Architecture Week include talks at the Theatre Royal Margate organised by Turner Contemporary.

Mr Gough said: "Turner Contemporary is going to be the great whizz-whazz fantastic example of architecture.

"It's going to be something very, very, very special and unusual - absolutely the cutting edge of modern architectural design and yet based on the fantastic light and brilliant painting of JMW Turner."

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