Daring to be different

Richard Leese is a rare man in local government. He not only thinks good architecture and design matter, he also makes fine buildings happen. As the leader of Manchester City Council, he runs a municipality that was once rich in 19th century commercial architecture — buildings with Victorian arches and polychrome brickwork — but became overrun with ugly concrete buildings in a misguided redevelopment effort in the 1960s and '70s. Now, just in time for the Commonwealth Games, Leese has shown that Manchester could overcome that legacy of drab functionality with the help of the best architects he could find —...

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