As Wembley succumbs to marauding zombies, we check on the whereabouts of the Taekwondo Kid and Ray Winstone, and ponder whether Gordon Brown will be architects’ knight in shining armour

Does Gordon get it?

Jack Pringle has taken to the internet to pass his verdict on Tony Blair. The RIBA president’s blog gives the prime minister the thumbs-up for setting up his Better Public Buildings initiative and Cabe, but he loses marks over “the dreaded Dome” and “the design disaster that PFI has been”. Looking ahead, Pringle isn’t sure whether or not Gordon Brown “gets” architecture. As for some of the rising stars in the next government, such as Yvette Cooper, he says: “We know they certainly do.” Does that mean we can look forward to a glorious Brownian future of architect-led eco towns?

A more hands-on role

Blair’s wasn’t the only high-profile resignation last week. It is with great regret that I have to inform you that Andy Link, the Bovis representative on Building’s graduate advisory board, has handed in his notice to his employer. Link will be joining the martial arts body, British Taekwondo, to become its full-time operations director. He will take up the reins at the body to lead it to the Beijing Olympics and the London Games in 2012. We’ll be sorry to see him leave our grad ad panel, too.


Upton Park, home of West Ham United, was the venue for an eight-a-side celebrity football tournament featuring construction group Apollo on Friday night. And true to the spirit of slightly controversial signings that has followed the Hammers of late, Apollo’s idea of celebrity somehow included recruiting Building executive editor Tom Broughton. Still the Apollo team worked like a well-oiled machine, skipping past teams that included the likes of actor Ray Winstone and TV gardener Tommy Walsh, before sadly grinding to a halt in the final, which they lost 1-0 to an insurance company (after a dodgy penalty decision).

The dice men

Mysteriously conflicting stories are circulating regarding the creative origins of the eponymous blue fins on Allies & Morrison’s Blue Fin building in Southwark, south London. The client, Land Securities, told us last year that Bob and Graham used a complicated state-of-the-art computer programme to get every single one of them positioned just so. Word on the architects grapevine however points to a rather less scientific method – that they threw a dice hundreds of times to achieve the random effect. Who’s more likely to know the truth?

Such youthful promise

How times change. Here’s a picture of Tony Blair the last time Building interviewed him, back in 1990. Compare the unfeasible tightness of the PM’s trousers and the quality of his furniture with the well tailored chap Margaret Ford met in the sybaritic surroundings of the House of Lords (see page 28). And it’s not just the trousers that are dodgy. On the subject of health and safety Blair told interviewer John Woodhouse, chairman of Haymills: “You need a health and safety inspectorate that is able to do the job properly. I think the inspectorate suffers from under-resourcing”. Some comfort I’m sure for the 10% of the Health and Safety Executive’s workforce whose jobs are about to be cut.

Slightly more than 28 weeks later ...

The new Wembley stadium has a starring role at the climax of horror sequel 28 Weeks Later as a sanctuary for hordes of marauding zombies. Enter your own ironic comment here. Though it must be great for Wembley National Stadium Limited to have its new asset feature so prominently, it is curious that none of the characters refer to it as anything other than “the stadium”. It couldn’t be that the producers weren't confident it would be finished in time for the final scenes to be shot, could it?