This month was all about new starts, false starts, and hill starts

Hansom new 2008

We’ll meet again

With immaculate timing, a reunion of former Davis Langdon staffers was held just days after news broke of Alinea’s deal with Turner & Townsend. Alinea, of course, came out of DL only for that to all end last week after a decade and a £35m takeover later. “I think this one could be the best attended yet,” quipped one veteran on his way to the Holborn hostelry where it was taking place. I’m told those from Alinea, no doubt expecting a grilling, stayed away.

Brief encounters

Giving the keynote speech to a recent event held by the RIBA and Office for Place, about how to keep beauty on the agenda in housing, was housing minister Lucy Frazer. My scribe says it was quite short. In keeping, then, with her 102 days in post. She went last week.

Giving the keynote speech to a recent event about how to keep beauty on the agenda in housing was housing minister Lucy Frazer. My scribe says it was quite short

Architecture on a plate

The Worshipful Company of Architects is having a grand opening next month at Temple Bar in Paternoster Square. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, it is the only remaining historic entrance to the Square Mile and visitors will see a host of hand-painted plates put up on the wall of one of the function rooms. My hack’s guide, Peter Murray, says they commemorate the fundraising exploits of people for the company’s benevolent fund. Plates by Will Alsop, Angela Brady, Chris Wilkinson and George Ferguson, among others, are now seeing the light of day for the first time in 20 years, he adds. What a smashing idea.

If you go down to the wood today

The Office Group’s new Black & White Building was launched to great fanfare last month, with my hack among the first shown around. The mass-timber office scheme, designed by Waugh Thistleton, has been praised for its sustainable credentials, but architect – and intended tour guide – Andrew Waugh was unable to explain many of the building’s secrets, as he had lost his voice. My hack mused aloud that, given the circumstances, Waugh would probably not be able to tell him much about the job. The pithy reply came via the iPhone notes app: “It’s all wood.”

Off the chart

The name of the building was inherited from its predecessor, which TOG painted black and white after buying it. Despite keeping the moniker, there is scant black or white to be seen, with interior designers at Daytrip Studio deciding that such a colour scheme was “too corporate” for Shoreditch. So, what colour is the Black & White Building now? Baby sick. That’s the pet name Daytrip have given the minty green hue that covers much of its interior.

Ain’t no mountain high enough

Lots of keen cyclists at Mace, although my hack was only met with sympathetic looks when he asked if he could park his bike at 155 Moorgate. Not really, was the gist of the reply from the front desk. Apparently stashing it in the basement would require an induction. No matter; my scribe and keen cyclist Jason Millett, who runs the firm’s consulting business, were swapping stories about riding in the Pyrenees. Millett rode last summer and former Mace boss Steve Pycroft was supposed to be along for the, ahem, ride too. Did he go, my hack wondered? “He bottled it,” Millett deadpans.

Spice girl

Good to see the security is top notch at 22 Bishopsgate. I’m told by a would-be tenant it took them half an hour to get past the chaps in the caps at a visit recently. I’m sure 22 Bishopsgate architect Karen Cook doesn’t have that problem. She’s set up shop at the tower with her new venture Spice Design after leaving PLP last autumn.

Easy rider


This column usually requires no excuse to run a picture of a bicycle, and one of those plates referred to elsewhere on this page caught my hack’s eye. It’s by former RIBA president Sunand Prasad and depicts architecture guru (and septuagenarian) Peter Murray on his Portland to Portland ride a decade ago. Ride on, Peter!

Send any juicy industry gossip to Mr Joseph Aloysius Hansom, who founded Building in 1843, at