Paranoia grips the industry this week as all kinds of things turn out to be all kinds of other things: alien invaders, human statues, sons and, er, someone’s pet doggie

The anti-Viñoly vote

Banner Holdings and Turner & Townsend are not the only ones to have lost out in the debacle that is Rafael Viñoly’s visual arts centre in Colchester. In the recent local elections, the Lib Dems vanquished the Tories in three key wards. I hear a certain banana-shaped cultural building topped the list of doorstepping issues, with locals even offering to pay £1 extra council tax to have the half-built scheme demolished.

Is that CAD sustainably farmed?

You may have heard about The End of the Line, an eco-documentary about the unsustainable nature of the fishing industry currently making, er, waves at the nation’s multiplexes. As a result of the film, Marks & Spencer has stopped selling unsustainable tuna and other supermarkets are planning to follow suit. But did you know that Rupert Murray, the film’s director, is the progeny of Peter Murray, the bow-tied chairman of the London Festival of Architecture and the man who set up the London2Cannes charity cycle ride to Mipim? Can we now expect Murray junior to focus his lens on fishy goings-on within the architecture sector?

So it’s come to this

Unlucky quantity surveyors recently made redundant by EC Harris will be pleased to hear the firm has started paying greater attention to cutting costs. No, they haven’t closed the firm’s free bar where employees can drink gratis two nights a week. But senior brass have let it be known that stag and hen parties can no longer fuel up at ECHQ before heading out for their last night of freedom. No doubt the hundreds of nearly-wed QSs forced out onto the street instead of drinking the company dry will help EC Harris’ bottom line no end …

An exhibition of himself

An exhibition of himself

One of the participants chosen for Antony Gormley’s One and Other art event in Trafalgar Square (the one where members of the public become a “living sculpture” on the empty plinth for two hours) is former Foster + Partners architect David Rosenberg. As luck would have it, he was project architect for the pedestrianisation of Trafalgar Square back in 1998. Now head of design agency Velorosé, Rosenberg is known for his exhibitionist streak – quite literally, in fact. The designer took part in the famous Naked Bike Ride through London in 2007, but has promised to keep his clothes on for his two-hour stint. “There is plenty of precedent for unclothed sculpture, but it’s not me,” he promises.

They’re here

There’s more than a hint of the X-Files in a recent missive from the folks at the Construction Industry Research and Information Association. Entitled “Alien species special news”, the email says construction folk should be on the look-out for “invasive species”. Gulp. If you’re unsure of what type of little green men to look for, you can attend CIRIA’s workshop in Birmingham which includes classes on “horizon scanning” and “identification, prevention and control”. Seriously. Apparently it’s actually something to do with non-native plant species but we’re not so sure. Keep watching the skies …

The mystery of Molly

As assiduous followers of Building’s news pages, dear readers, you will be aware that Lloyds TSB is trying to sell off its stake in social housing specialist Apollo Group, which it aquired as part of HBOS last year. A quick scan of the list of shareholders in Apollo at the time that HBOS bought it in 2007 reveals a large mystery stakeholder. With 320,730 shares, Jersey-based Molly Trust was the largest owner. So who is the mystery Molly? Sugden? Malone? Some shady Channel Islands hedge fund? Alas the truth is rather more prosaic. The shares belong to former boss Gary Couch who named the trust after his, er, dog.