Introducing the all-conquering Lord Rogers of Riverside: Pritzker prize-winning architect, confidante to the rich and powerful and, of course, would-be sexologist

Richard Rogers, friend of the powerful

Things worked out very nicely for Lord Rogers this week. Not only was he awarded the Pritzker prize, but it had also conveniently been decided that the award would be presented in London for the first time since 1986. This meant that Rogers could while away the afternoon having tea with Tony Blair before sauntering across Whitehall to the ceremony at Inigo Jones’ Banqueting House. London must have seemed a very model of the compact, walkable city that Rogers has so long championed …

Richard Rogers, erotic writer

In a pious press conference announcing the award, one person could be relied on to spice things up. That was Renzo Piano, who was there as an award jury member, as well as Rogers’ former partner and life-long chum.

“Can you explain the relationship between food, sex and architecture?” teased Piano.

Rogers was unfazed. “At the end of our Pompidou Centre project [designed with Piano in the sixties] there was no work coming in,” he replied. “We thought of writing a book called Sex, Food and Architecture.” The book was never written, but perhaps it’s no coincidence Rogers went on to marry a celebrated restaurateur …

Credit: Scott Garrett

Ripping yarn

An evening themed around murder and death may be considered a slightly dubious choice of entertainment for a pension provider, but that didn’t trouble B&CE last week. The company held its own Jack the Ripper event in the city of London, treating guests to a grizzly tour of the notorious murderer’s crime scenes, complete with graphic illustrations of the victims’ deaths. It would have been more eerie were it not for an unfortunate disturbance during one part of the tour, when the song “I Shot the Sheriff” blared out from a nearby pub, drowning out the tour guide. This was swiftly followed by real-life police sirens, proof if proof were needed, that crime in the capital may not be what it used to be, but it’s still alive and well.

Sustainability begins at home

I was delighted to hear that the Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association and the Electrical Contractors Association have signed a joint sustainability agreement to, in the words of David Pollock, ECA’s director, “answer some important questions about how to achieve major reductions in UK carbon emissions”. Here are two to start with, David: Why did the ECA choose to hold their annual conference a four-hour flight away in Rhodes? And why did the HVCA have to fly out there to sign the agreement?

You can go your own way

News of the potential acquisition of materials giant Hanson by German outfit HeidelbergCement has caused some anxiety at brickwork contractor Irvine Whitlock, which has just been sold to Hanson. But staff need not fear. A reliable source informs me that a buyout team from within Irvine Whitlock is poised to leap in should the management at Heidelberg take the company in an unwelcome direction.

All-action scaredy cat

I hear that EC Harris has recruited Paul Callaghan, the former star of the hit TV show the Apprentice. Callaghan, a former army lieutenant, will join as a project manager. According to the Apprentice website, he is “a real smooth player” whose hobbies include “sky diving, polo, skiing and yachting” and whose biggest fear is “being eaten by a shark”. So why he’s entering the murky waters of project management is anybody’s guess.