BONO turned from superstar to fan yesterday as he lavished praise on a visiting Japanese architect.
The U2 frontman also revealed his optimism about the future of Irish architecture and praised developments taking place in Dublin, despite controversies about the character of some modern buildings, including the forthcoming "U2 Tower".
Tadao Ando, billed as "one of the world's greatest living architects" gave the largest ever public lecture in Ireland on building design yesterday.
In rock and roll terms, he was the headliner who attracted a 3,000 strong crowd while Bono was the warm-up act.
The singer said that Ando (66) had found his own distinctive voice, "which is the hardest thing".
Bono added: "Tadao Ando didn't just find a voice, he found a language. Awe is a word to describe Ando's work -- he's simply awesome."
Bono has his own interests in this area, with the long anticipated "U2 Tower" on the southside promising an innovative corkscrew structure but also being described as a "monstrosity" by Ringsend Environmental Group.
Bono said, however, that economic growth was bringing "great buildings" to Ireland.
The singer added: "We're proud of our city. People in business and planning are taking steps -- baby steps -- taking the prosperity we're enjoying and leaving some great buildings for our kids."
Ando claims people can be highly influenced by architecture and that it can reflect local culture -- including its differences. Yesterday's event at the RDS was packed with people eager to hear from a man who has won virtually all of the major international architecture awards.
Ando titled his lecture "Creating Dreams" and drew on experiences of his previous jobs as a boxer and truck driver.
He says he learnt about architecture by going to see buildings across the world before designing landmarks like Osaka's famous Church of Light.