The Garden Bridge wasn’t bad for everyone, it appears – and at least it’s half term! Meanwhile in Italy, Renzo Piano has had his jab

Crayons at the ready

Hansom new 2008

As harassed parents bask in the warm glow of half-term and a break from Google Classroom, even former RIBA presidents have been mucking in with teaching from the dining room table. As well as setting up a new business, Jack Pringle, formerly of Perkins + Will before leaving last autumn ahead of launching a new venture this spring, has been helping his eight-year-old daughter with home‑schooling. “I’m rather enjoying it,” he told my hack. That was, I would point out, a few weeks ago.

String theory

In anticipation of this month’s project I read an interview the architect Phil Coffey gave to Building Design in 2012. He mentioned he was listening to A Tale of Two Cities, an album from 2007 that just happens to be one of my favourites, so I dropped him a line. Turns out the artist, Mr Hudson & The Library (aka Ben McIldowie), is a friend and the original artwork for the album hangs on Coffey’s wall. “Ben is one of my best mates,” Phil tells me. “He taught me to play guitar before he was famous. I love that album. Reminds me of sunny days in Camden and trips around the country to support Ben in his early years.” A nice tale, especially so during these dog days of lockdown.

Coming up roses

The demise of Boris Johnson’s Garden Bridge has not done too much harm to the finances of its designer Thomas Heatherwick, it seems. Tucked away on the penultimate page of his firm’s latest accounts for the year to March 2020 is a reference to the near £6m in dividend payments he has picked up in the last two years.

Read what you want into it

Architect Patrick Lynch seems to have thrown the book at proposals by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to extend the grade I-listed British Library in London. Pulling no punches, he calls the 11-storey plan “bloody awful, a third-rate wedge of nothing”. If I were in RSHP’s shoes, I’d say don’t judge a book by its cover.

Pulling no punches, Lynch calls the RSHP 11-storey plan for the British Library ‘bloody awful, a third‑rate wedge of nothing’

Pointy heads

Over in Italy, Renzo Piano has become the first person to receive the covid vaccine in the Liguria region of the country. The Shard architect, 83, was the poster boy (so to speak) of the area’s Silver Vaccine Day, opening the vaccination programme for the over 80s. The Shard, the Scalpel, the Gherkin, the Cheesegrater … will the Needle be next?

Puttin’ on the Ritz

Secrecy surrounds the £300m plan to revamp the Ritz hotel in London’s Piccadilly. Building reported last autumn that Turner & Townsend had picked up the QS and project management roles on the job. No one at T&T is saying anything, of course, but the firm is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Now, where to hold that bash, covid restrictions permitting …?

Words on the street

Historic England has published details of a cultural programme aimed at enlivening high streets across England over the next three years. To mark this, a podcast and ebook have been launched called High Street Tales, comprising seven short stories by British writers who have been inspired by our nation’s high streets. It’s a lovely idea but given the state of our high streets, let’s hope the tales don’t just go straight into the history books.

Must get out more

As the country digests the news that it might not be able to go on holiday ever again because of bloomin’ coronavirus, Cenkos analyst Kevin Cammack, signing off his daily update at the end of last week, quips: “Have a great weekend all, make the most of that trip to Tesco.”

So very you

Architect Paul Zara got a shock recently at the car he was handed by his local garage while his motor was being serviced. The former Conran & Partners partner told his 1,000 Twitter followers: “Just look at this. What even is it? Boy racer? Drug dealer? Pimp?” One of the replies to his post cut to the chase. “None of the above,” it went. “Definitely ‘Architect’.”

car picCMYK

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