Sajid Javid praises Zaha Hadid but prefers Pugin and Brunel

The new culture secretary has praised London’s changing skyline – but revealed that his own tastes are firmly stuck in the past.

Sajid Javid was speaking to BD for the first time about the architectural aspect of his broad portfolio.

He named the Palace of Westminster and Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge as examples of the architecture he likes most. Both date from the 19th century.

“My job is to encourage the creative industries,” he said. “I leave it to people to decide what they like. In every type of style I can find something I like but for me personally, historic structures are what appeal most.

“London’s skyline has had several new towers over the last few years and I think it looks great. It’s an example of the creative capital we have in this country.”

He described architecture as one of Britain’s “most important creative industries” and a key plank in the government’s creative industry strategy.

“We’ve had some of the greatest architects in the world traditionally and we want to continue that and ensure we keep doing great work here and around the world,” he said. He also described Zaha Hadid as “one of our greatest living architects”.

Javid, a former banker whose portfolio includes heritage and tourism as well as architecture, sport and the media, was promoted to the Cabinet from the Treasury in April after Maria Miller’s resignation over an expenses row. As the boss of architecture minister Ed Vaizey, he is ultimately responsible for listing decisions.


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