In this post-Valentine week, the love of an ex-German fighter pilot and a touchy-feely relationship are tempered by some good old-fashioned Russian criminals

For richer, for poorer

There was a touching Valentine-themed event at the BRE last week, called “Relationships in the Construction Industry”. The talks were all about “understanding each other” and “meaningful partnerships” – the kind of touchy-feely stuff that would make Sir John Egan and Sir Michael Latham well up. But the cosiest love-in was between National Grid Transco and contractors McNicholas and Skanska, which have just announced an eight-year commitment to each other. In his cockle-warming speech, “Marriage vs the dating game – a client’s view as to long-term relationships”, Peter Roberts, NGT’s network and business performance manager, likened the relationship between client and contractor to a marriage. Roberts finished by recommending wedding bells, with the usual caveats: don’t get married after the first date and remember, play the field before you get hitched. I just hope the marriage to Skanska and McNicholas survives that seven-year itch …

Architecture’s golden boy

It’s not just architects’ natural predilection for polo-neck sweaters and florid bow ties that puts them off black-tie events. Gilt-edged invitations also bring back old but painful memories of the RIBA’s 150th anniversary in 1984, when Prince Charles as guest of honour publicly rubbished the whole profession. So it was a daring move to hold another black-tie event at the RIBA last week, with the 79-year-old inventor of membrane structures Frei Otto as guest of honour. Although he tempted fate by mentioning the war – he was a German fighter pilot – Otto managed not to offend his British hosts. Just the opposite, in fact - he walked off with the Royal Gold Medal to rapturous applause.

Hmm, where’s Richard?

Can you work out the location of the new outpost of QS and project manager Gleeds from this intriguing picture (above), showing senior partner Richard Steer and “friend”? Nope, it’s a mystery to me too. Answers on a postcard please.

Hidden treasure

I hear the developers working on the former London Stock Exchange building unearthed not just one time capsule within the foundations, but two. The first was filled with the usual guff one usually puts in these receptacles: newspapers, photographs, Blue Peter badge … But there was also an intriguing unofficial box, apparently compiled by the scheme’s original builders. The contents? A generous selection of Page 3 stunnas from the late 1960s. Good work shattering those stereotypes, lads.

Champagne companion

To loyal Hansom readers who enjoy a bit of bubbly at MIPIM, I must recommend Building’s guide to the Cannes networking bonanza. Published with this issue, it gives a host of handy tips for surviving the boozy schmooze-fest. But I wanted to add one of my own: if you see Ken Livingstone, probably best not to wave a tape recorder at him …

Welcome to Moscow, suckers
Welcome to Moscow, suckers
A word of warning to anyone off to the Russian capital after reading our feature this week. Moscow may have the most splendidly ornate underground system in the world, but its miles of corridors also shelter a breed of petty criminals. A consultant pal of mine taking part in a recent study tour had his wallet pilfered within minutes of entering the Metro system. However, overground travel proved just as hazardous. Others in the party tried to travel by taxi, but refused to pay the exorbitant fare. The driver locked the doors and wouldn’t let them go until they’d coughed up the roubles.