15 MAY 1964, Page 13


SIR,—We look to the Spectator for enlightenment and might have hoped for dispassionate analysis of the difficult question of the proposed House of Commons extension. All we get is an attack on the Gothic style as unmodern, which reminds one of those 1914 patriots who attacked dachshunds be- cause they were German. Does anyone think Renaissance architecture bogus or unprogressive because it imitated that of ancient Rome?

The real and serious architectural objection to the recommendation of the Speaker's Committee is that it would spoil a masterpiece of architecture by building on to it at a point where any extension whatever would cause grave testhetic damage. If the only alternative is a detached addition with an under- ground link, then that is the right choice, even though it bight be a little less convenient for Mem- bers of Parliament. It seems that the Gothic issue may become a smoke screen to divert attention from the true issue of parliamentary convenience versus public interest.

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