Isn’t technology incredible? We can heat swimming pools with crematoriums, build lifts that go into space … and yet there’s still no way to recall an inadvertently sent email, as two architects found out

Sleeping with the fishes

The lengths people will go to to be sustainable in their projects seem to know no bounds. This week Driver Jonas Deloitte unveiled its plans to connect a brand new swimming pool in Redditch to the local crematorium to provide the heat for its pool. I confess that effectively using the deceased for fuel does make me a little uncomfortable. But then if that’s what it takes to heat a glorious municipal swimming pool these days then I guess I will have to get used to it. Certainly the practicality of the scheme cannot be denied - it will provide 42% of the building’s heat. And as I’m sure the residents of Redditch will say about their dearly departed loved ones: “It’s what they would have wanted.”

Delete after reading

The Architects Registration Board, the government body that looks after the register of architects, is not the first place one would expect a scandal. That was, until last week, when two board members inadvertently sent a journalist a hideously embarrassing series of emails relating to the upcoming elections to the board. In the first, George Oldham hit out at RIBA president Angela Brady’s support for candidates backed by the Stephen Lawrence Trust, calling them “the ethnics”. In her reply to Oldham, fellow board member Ruth Brennan described Brady as a “prat” and possibly “the worst ever RIBA president”. Surprisingly enough, both have now resigned.

Peter’s plan

City of London planning officer Peter Rees’ ongoing war of words with the city’s heritage lobby was reignited last week. Rees and English Heritage have crossed swords over many redevelopment schemes in the City, most notably Make Architects’ controversial Broadgate scheme for Swiss banking giant UBS, which has required the partial demolition of Sir Stuart Lipton’s eighties Broadgate Circus - a development English Heritage recommended for grade-II* listing. Rees joked at a Square Mile event last week that he was “deliberately consenting some really bad buildings” to ward off the possibility of them being listed in the future. “We have got to have something to redevelop,” he explained. His aversion to protection also extends to the City’s celebrated “Gherkin” tower - Rees shuddered at the potential “danger” it would be listed.

Bon voyage

Hansom would like to wish the 80 brave (or should that be foolhardy?) construction folk who yesterday embarked on the seventh annual 1,500km Aedas Cycle to Cannes the very best of luck. The Cycle to Cannes organisers are hoping to raise an impressive £200,000 for charity this year, to add to its all-time total of £1m. As per usual, the cyclists will roll in to Cannes for the start of the MIPIM property convention, making the rest of the generally hungover construction crowd feel conspicuously idle by comparison.

We have lift-off


Readers with a fear of heights, look away now. A Japanese construction firm has announced plans to take tourists into space in a lift shaft that stretches a quarter of the way to the moon. Obayashi Corp claims the 96,000km-long scheme could be executed within 40 years and said it would make use of carbon nanotube technology, which is more than 20 times stronger than steel. While Obayashi Corp’s plan is certainly ambitious, it should perhaps not be dismissed out of hand. The firm, which has previously worked on the Dubai Metro scheme and the Sydney Olympics stadium, is currently putting the finishing touches to the tallest structure in Japan, the 634m-high ‘Sky Tree’ tower in Tokyo. Not much of a difference between that and a space elevator surely?