Sheep may have been the main attraction of Architecture Week, but animal-loving teen goths and children surprisingly well-versed in international politics also provided welcome diversions
The wisdom of youth
Architecture minister David Lammy appears to be struggling to win over the voters of tomorrow. The minister was at the RIBA to launch an initiative on using the built environment as an educational tool, to which end he spent the best part of an hour looking through projects with local schoolchildren.
So far, so good. But during the speeches, when Lammy extolled architecture as a "beginning-to-end process", one of the schoolchildren piped up, "And so is the war in Iraq." They grow up so fast these days.
The flock and the mob
Renzo Piano and Lord Rogers' sheep drive across the Millennium Bridge on Saturday morning (see pages 16-17) was almost headed off at the pass by an angry band, made up mostly of middle-aged women and teenage goths. As the procession got under way, the group began to shout "murderers", "shame on you", and "baa-baric" (geddit?). The fearless architects were not remotely put off their stride, but the animal rights protesters did claim one small victory. The Salvation Army, whose headquarters lies at the north end of the bridge, decided against joining in the festivities with an apt burst of The Lord is my Shepherd.
I only bite the heads off whippets
Architecture Week was somewhat overshadowed by the admission from RIBA presidential candidate Peter Phillips that he had been an active member of the British National Party since 2001 (see news). Phillips moaned to a colleague of mine that the revelations had "muddied" the issue of his tilt at the presidency and that the BNP had been grossly misrepresented by the press. "The media says some outrageous things about the BNP," Phillips complained. "There is this coverage that we are eating babies for breakfast and inevitably some people believe it." Hmmm, not sure that's really getting to the heart of the problem with your charming little party, Peter …
Just days after the pitch was laid at Wembley stadium, it transpires that cunning workers have stolen pieces of the not-particularly-hallowed turf and put them up for sale on eBay for £15 a clod. The description, which is alongside a helpful picture of some grass and a St George's flag, reads: "Genuine perfect Wembley turf in inclusive box. Perfect for a real England supporter." No bids had been received As Building went to press.
Romano Prodi's victory in the Italian general election has added to Cleveland Bridge's woes. It transpires that the former Wembley steel contractor had been secretly working with the consortium that had been chosen to build the *3.9bn (£2.7bn) Messina bridge that would have linked Sicily to Calabria in southern Italy. However, the 3.3 km bridge, which was to have formed part of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's *170bn (£116bn) infrastructure extravaganza, is deemed "not a priority" by the new left-of-centre regime. It seems Prodi finds spending *170bn on infrastructure a little steep.
So the Royal Mail has published a set of stamps featuring the best of British architecture, including Lord Foster's Swiss Re building and Future Systems' Selfridges store in Birmingham. Rumours that they were planning to introduce a special third-class stamp depicting Wembley stadium and ensuring delivery some time in September appear to have been unfounded.
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