Alphabets and Elements by Michael David Coogan

By Michael David Coogan

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A bad temper has been the undoing of many good designers. Maybe some architects remained modest practitioners solely because of their moods or because they became angry, or otherwise annoyed those who could have helped them: it is impossible to know how many great architects we might have had but for their temper. 23 Ernö Goldfinger, admittedly, was also the possessor of a vile temper and yet managed to be a success, but by all accounts he did not suffer from the self-doubt that often plagues the angry.

At any rate, architectural losers can likewise be divided into categories which themselves establish the ways in which we can best appreciate what it was that they achieved; we can work out what battles they thought they were fighting and how it is that we can go about discovering what is challenging, interesting, moving, elegant, and beautiful in their architecture. DEATH BY WRIGHT For me, the whole practice of architecture resounds with failure, to the extent that I can see an entire unwritten culture of failure about it.

Much antagonism followed in the local press, and Scamp was branded as incompetent by the Maltese not least because he was British, some kind of Protestant devil. Here the project itself seemed to suck loser-architects into it, no doubt not that rare a phenomenon. 3 The early-nineteenth-century designers of St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta, Malta, were all losers. Courtesy of the author. 42 CHAPTER 1 design the London County Hall, the city’s municipal headquarters, on an unequalled prominent site diagonally across the Thames from the Palace of Westminster.

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