Bedford Park Architect Has Grand Designs

Peter Murray's debut novel inspired by 2012 Olympics


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Leading Chiswick architect and editor  Peter Murray, (67) has just written his debut novel ‘A Passion to Build’.

The former editor of Building Design and the Royal Institute of British Architects Journal said the novel was based on many of his “colourful and eccentric” contacts in a career spanning more than 40 years.

Since its release as a e-book, the 222-page novel has proved extremely popular, selling over 1,000 copies online and its author is hoping to smash the records in 2012.

The father-of-four  wrote the novel in less than six months as part of a “summer project”.

He said: 'I have a regimented approach to my writing, thanks partly to the editor in me. I set myself a target of 9,000 words per month, working every morning - getting up at 5.00 am and doing three hours writing before going off to work.

'All the work and effort put in over the summer is now being rewarded. It’s great to hear people discussing my characters.'

Set in the fictional northern city of Frampton-on-Tees, the book follows the careers – and “tangled love lives” of two modern-thinking architects, Harry Jamb and Freddie Shaw.

Both are vying to design the buildings and stadia for the EuroGames, an Olympic-style sporting event that the local mayor hopes will “restore some vitality” to the fading city’s once booming economy.

But the competition between Jamb and Shaw reaches a dramatic climax at the spectacular opening ceremony – and their lives dramatically unravel, and come crashing down, in the process.

The author said that the book had many layers and he wanted to write a novel that could be read as both a straightforward adventure, and deeper, more complex story about relationships and the passions that drive architects to carry out their often controversial work.

An audio version of the book may also be released next year.

Peter  is currently that of  chairman of Wordsearch, the international communications consultants, and director of New London Architecture Centre – the HQ for the capital’s built environment.

He also co-founded Blueprint magazine, a leading architectural publication, and launched the London Festival of Architecture in 2004, of which he remains a director.

But he said: “Obviously the book is fictional. Almost everything in it relates to events that have happened, but the details have been changed and the characters are total inventions. Despite that, they took on a life of their own while I was writing the book.

“I have lived this world for many, many years and the book is a reflection of that insider knowledge.”

A Passion to Build by Peter Murray is out now as an ebook (on Kindle and iBooks) priced £7.99. Copies are available from retailers including Amazon. Paperback copies are available at £9.99 via

December 1, 2011

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