Grey vote, orange skin, pink porcelain and none-too-green denim star in this week's colourful round-up of construction chatter
Building columnist Colin Harding braved the Cambridge University Union Society last week to propose that "Buildings that win awards lose money". Exhibit A was last year's Stirling Prize winner, the Scottish parliament, which cost £14,675/m2. "It makes your eyes water," he said.
But Harding's eyes may have watered when subjected to the opposing case from Paul Finch, deputy chairman of CABE. Finch argued that all buildings lose money, but what makes money is the activities within them. His evidence was "the ultimate capitalist dream of the massage parlour above the five-minute car wash".
The student vote went with Finch.
Wembley running late shock
My colleagues were amused to read an "exclusive" story in The Sun last week revealing how remedial works on drainage pipes at Wembley were threatening to further delay the completion of the stadium. The story, which was followed up on the front page of The Daily Telegraph, wasn't such a surprise to Building - it appeared on our front page six weeks ago.
The tangerine one
News reaches me that former England boss Terry Venables has signed up Bovis Lend Lease to build a £300m football training and holiday centre close to Valencia in Spain. Apparently, El Tel struck the deal for the 220 ha site, which will have a golf course, football pitches, tennis courts and shopping, at MIPIM last week. Perhaps the soccer giant does all his business deals on the Med: it might explain his impressive perma-tan.
Is this love?
For the couple that has everything, the mischief-making architect FAT has designed a his 'n' hers all-in-one bathroom fitting, on show at Stroom den Haag gallery in the Hague, Holland. It consists of pairs of baths, handbasins and toilets all fused together into one large heart-shaped unit. Who says romance is dead?
All mouth and trousers
I hear that Willmott Dixon has just finished work on an eco-friendly primary school in Sheffield. It was constructed predominantly from sustainable materials. But it really stands out for its insulation, which is made from recycled denim jeans. Unfortunately, it seems the jeans were imported from America. I wonder how far that's set back the government's 2010 carbon target?
John of Arabia
John Cahill, a director at contractor McNicholas, won't be spending Easter eating his own body weight in chocolate. He's opted for a different test of endurance: running the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara, in aid of the Construction Youth Trust. With temperatures topping 120°F, the 10-day event is billed as the toughest race on earth. To sponsor John and add messages of support, see weblinks below.
And free Werther's Originals
David Bucknall, former chairman of consultant Bucknall Austin, was delighted by last week's Budget. "It was really a political rather than a financial Budget," he told my man in the field. Bucknall was particularly interested in Gordon Brown's attempts to woo the more mature voters. "The best bit is that I can now travel from Birmingham to London by bus for free," he said. "But it would probably take about three days."