I hear that Britain's largest project, Heathrow Terminal 5, has spawned its own double-talk. "Aggressive value engineering" on T5 has been superseded by "value extraction", in which the boys and girls on BAA's framework suppliers solve problems in love and harmony. Richard Rogers Partnership has had its design work passed down to a clutch of lower-cost subconsultants. So Rogers calls its role "concept guardian". And with Rogers still leading the team, there's no lack of self-congratulation. This is conveyed by the occurrence of epiphanic "T5 moments", a phrase that translates as "this is fantastic".
I hear that Endemol, the makers of Big Brother, are having a shot at making construction cool. It has begun filming Restoration, a show in which teams compete to win a budget of millions to redevelop a rundown building. Griff Rhys Jones will ask viewers to vote for regional winners from a shortlist of 30 projects. The regional winners will then go through to a final to decide, which gets the moolah, and celebrities will try to convince the public to favour one or other of the schemes. Hmmm … I wonder if Will Alsop will be one of them …
Fellowship of the Spring
Pictured above is my esteemed colleague, Building architectural editor Martin Spring, receiving his honorary RIBA fellowship from current president Paul Hyett (pictured). He took his place among such superstars as Peter Rogers, Julia Peyton-Jones, director of the Serpentine Gallery, and Bob Kiley of Transport for London. He was commended for "pressing the case for the benefits of working with good architects to developers and the construction industry as a whole". In keeping with his glamorous role, Martin's first RIBA assignment is to review a transport centre on the remote and decidedly chilly Hebridean island of Tiree.
We love Lucy
What would you do for your next trick after working with the best, brightest and daftest of London's young talent in the Architecture Foundation? For Lucy Musgrave, who resigned as director last year, the trick is to expand her horizons. On May Day, she will launch an organisation called General Public Agency to promote a multidisciplinary, international approach to the public realm in British towns and cities. All she and her partner Clare Cumberlidge have to do is persuade councils that theirs is an indispensable service. Knowing Ms Musgrave, this should not be an insurmountable problem.
Sauve qui peut
News reaches me of the whereabouts of former Morrison spinmeister George Hulbert. You won't need me to remind you that the contractor was bought by AWG in 2000. AWG sued former Morrison head Sir Fraser Morrison to recoup £100m lost on the acquisition. George, however, is well out of it. A colleague of mine bumped into him in his new role as PR manager at Barclays.