Answers Activity 129

Now listen again while you check the audio transcription. Then check the answers below.

INTERVIEWER: I'm sitting here, rather uncomfortably, with designer Lucy Collett. Lucy, you're an architect really, but an architect with a difference.
MS COLLETT: Yes, I specialise in small buildings.
INTERVIEWER: And we're in one of your buildings now. It's a tree-house, and we're perched on child-size seats, two or three metres above the ground.
MS COLLETT: In fact, I was commissioned to design this house by my neighbours for their children. I don't like heights, but I loved the challenge of weaving the house in amongst the branches. You can see there are several storeys with stairways between them.
INTERVIEWER: I'd have given anything for a house like this when I was a child. What started you off on this type of design?
MS COLLETT: I've always had a passion for small buildings. Play houses, of course, when I was a little girl. Then I found a book about historical telephone boxes, which fascinated me. When the telephone was an amazing new invention, money was poured into the designs of public phone boxes. They were all sizes and styles. There were some that looked like rustic cottages, with thatched roofs; others like Chinese pagodas; one like a sort of Greek temple. Some were quite luxurious, with chairs, and people used to go in there to play cards. But it didn't last long; they had to be standardised and made more practical.
INTERVIEWER: You went to architecture school. Did you know you were going to work on this small scale?
MS COLLETT: Yes, my final year project was on small buildings in an industrial context. If you look at major building sites, they're dotted around with huts and temporary buildings. You think, "They put up these tin boxes for the workers to drink their tea and read their newspapers in. What is there to that?". Well, they've all got to conform to safety standards, and why shouldn't they have some style as well? I designed them to look better, and also to be put up and dismantled more quickly. I worked on durability of materials, comfort and so on.
INTERVIEWER: Where did you get your inventiveness from?
MS COLLETT: I don't know. I think I'm more practical than inventive. My parents were market stall holders. They had a really cumbersome stall which took them forever to put up. All the market people started setting up about four o'clock in the morning. It was freezing, back-breaking work, and it drove me mad when I had to help them. I was visiting some clients abroad a few years ago, and saw some brilliant stalls in their local market. They were little metal folding houses, completely waterproof and enclosed, with plenty of display room. At the end of the day you could lock them up with the goods safe inside, or you could fold them flat and cart them off to the next town. I did drawings of them and made one when I got home. But I haven't sold it.
INTERVIEWER: What have you done that you're most proud of?
MS COLLETT: I suppose everything I've done is a variation on a theme, so it's hard to pick anything out. But I did get an award. The Newspaper Sellers' Association gave me a prize for a design I did for street corner kiosks – you know, those cute little buildings with display windows on three sides. Mine were in strong steel, painted, with domed roofs and lots of decorative detail. I must admit, I was particularly pleased with the fancy work, and the newspaper people loved it.
INTERVIEWER: Have you ever done any phone box designs, since that was what started you off?
MS COLLETT: Funnily enough, that's what I've just been doing. For an international hotel chain. They'd stopped putting public phone booths in their hotel lobbies because of mobile phones, but there were complaints from a few countries where mobiles hadn't really caught on yet. So the hotel decided to make a big feature of lobby phone boxes. I did these sort of glass bird-cage designs, with brass work and over-the-top telephones. Now the company's putting them in all their hotels, and people are going into them to make calls on their mobiles. It's sort of retro-style lobby furniture.
INTERVIEWER: And tree-houses?
MS COLLETT: No, this is a one-off. I've told you, I'm scared of heights.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Shall we let down the ladder and go home? Thank you, Lucy.




Lucy enjoyed building the tree-house because it...


A.    gave her children somewhere to play.
B.    presented an interesting design problem.
C.    demonstrated the type of work she does.
  allowed her to fulfil a childhood ambition.


What fascinated Lucy about the historical phone boxes?


A.    their international character
B.    their luxurious interiors
C.    their range of styles
  the quality of their construction


At college, Lucy designed small buildings so that they...


A.    could be assembled in a shorter time.
B.    would comply better with safety rules.
C.    would have a wider range of uses.
  could be built in a simpler style.


Lucy got the idea for a folding market stall...


A.    from her parents.
B.    from travelling salesmen.
C.    while she was at a trade fair.
  while she was on an overseas trip.


What did Lucy like best about her award-winning design?


A.    the shape
B.    the display space
C.    the decoration
  the building material


The hotel phone booths which Lucy worked on were...


A.    developed with mobile phone users in mind.
B.    designed for countries with relatively few mobile phones.
C.    placed at the entrance to the hotel lobby.
  intended to be the largest feature of the lobby.

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