The Tate’s wealthy neighbours find they’ve bought into being part of the view, while youngsters’ financial aspirations are less than realistic – and the Bloomberg building smells of more than money …

Hansom new 2008

Rich aroma

What’s the deal with the water features outside the new Bloomberg HQ in the City, which one of my colleagues came upon while wandering past the Fosters-designed, Sir Robert McAlpine-built office complex the other weekend? Water flows across what looks like a tangled mass of malign tree roots and it’s all rather gothic. But worse was the powerful aroma of chlorine. As one little girl, holding hands with her mother and trying to make sense of it all, put it: “Cor, what a stink!”

It’s all relative

It’s fair to say the Carbuncle Cup-winning Walkie Talkie still divides opinion three years after it was built. But it may have a rival as the most controversial building to have gone up in the City in recent years. One of my hacks reports that an industry lunch elicited the following remark from an attendee: “22 Bishopsgate makes the Walkie Talkie seem like a reasonable proposition.”

Show me the money

Poring over official figures for youth employment last week, which revealed construction had dropped out of the top 10 jobs for youngsters, I was nevertheless encouraged by the remuneration ambitions of 16- to 21-year-olds. At that age, 5% thought they could earn £80,000 by age 30. Fast forward to actual 30-year-olds and a mere 2% of them are actually earning £80,000. But come on, you’ve got to admire their pluck.

Thirsty work

One of my hacks has been at this week’s Tory Party conference in Birmingham. He was there last year, and I was curious to know what the atmosphere was like with Brexit now less than six months’ away. His answer: “Everybody seems to be hitting the bar earlier this time.” Perhaps the entire country will be doing just that come 29 March 2018 without a deal with the EU in sight …

Missing words

There are a number of things I’ll miss about the EU, but I didn’t expect the Official Journal – the contracts notice board of publicly let work – to be one of them. But with gems like these, it’s little wonder. Leeds university has been seeking a firm to build a teaching block. Unsuccessfully, it seems. It hasn’t awarded a contract because “no tenders or requests to participate were received or all were rejected”. So, to being able to nip over the Channel without too much bother and not having to worry about trade agreements, I can now add public policy speak in the Official Journal of the European Union – to give it its full name – to those things I’ll shed a tear over.

Brutally honest

I see that work is due to start this month on a load of apartments on the site once occupied by architect John Madin’s brutalist Yorkshire Post building in Leeds. The building, torn down four years ago, was hailed by the RIBA at the time for making a “dramatic contribution” to the city. It was opened in 1970 by that patron of architecture, Prince Charles. Surely the 1980s version of the prince wouldn’t have gone anywhere near it.

Quite a spread

HOK’s head of its London office, Dan Hajjar, is flying over to the US later this month for one of the firm’s regular meetings of its bigwigs. With the CEO and chair based in Washington, the CFO in Chicago, the president in New York and the COO in St Louis, getting a venue in the diary for one of these powwows must be quite a feat. “It’s faster for the guys in New York to fly over here than it is to go to LA,” Hajjar remarks, optimistically.

Don’t look now


Like every other visitor to Tate Modern’s rooftop viewing gallery, I took a few minutes the other day to peer into the living quarters of those residing in Richard Rogers’ Neo Bankside apartment complex next door. I wasn’t the only one. Indeed such is the interest – one might say intrusion, since many gawpers take photos of Neo occupants relaxing in their living rooms – that a while back residents launched an attempt to have the “view” blocked off. Their efforts failed, and I’m not sure they’ll think the Tate is pulling out all the stops sticking a few notices like this one to the walls.

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