While the upper echelons were attending high-profile weddings and the awards, those in the lower pay grades were free to fit solar panels facing the wrong way and misinterpret design instructions ...

Gratuitously green

The “greenwash” watch starts here. Hansom’s spy, out on site the other day, was intrigued to see a bank of north-facing solar panels. He wondered, given that there was clearly enough room on the roof, why they weren’t all south facing. “Because people wouldn’t be able to see them,” came back the reply from the council’s officer. The only thing my informant didn’t reveal was the name of the local authority in question. Any information on this, or any other, ecological jiggery-pokery gratefully received.

Changing fashions

Tony Wilson, the former Factory Records boss turned regeneration guru, was star speaker at the Housing Forum’s conference last week. One of his wheezes had been to build a Fashion Tower in Blackburn, but no more it seems. “They decided to get rid of the name because it’s crap,” he said. Tony, we could have told you that a long time ago.

Not part of the deal

There has been much frustration at the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) at reports that Laing O’Rourke, which is part of the Olympic delivery partner CLM, might build some of the Games’ venues. This would breach its contract, which says delivery partners should not build venues. The ODA insists such a move would happen only in an emergency.

But that’s what it says here

Consultants everywhere have been having a good laugh at this photograph – an unfortunate builder misinterpreted the meaning of a “revision cloud”, whereby an engineer marks around a drawing if any changes are required. It seems the contractor has taken the revision a touch too literally … but you have to admire the workmanship.

It takes a lot to impress us ...

My! What a jolly time I had at last week’s Building Awards. It was particularly fun to see some of the industry’s great and good tricked by Derren Brown, who, along with comedian Rory Bremner, was one of the event’s star turns. First, he managed to work out the exact amount of change that Graham Watts, chief executive of the Construction Industry Council, had in his pocket by asking seemingly unrelated questions such as how many kids he has. Then, he asked Francis Ives, Cyril Sweett’s chairman, to draw an object – but nothing too obvious, like a stick man or a tree. Without looking, Brown drew a car, as did Ives (Brown’s attempt can be seen on page 27). Hmmm, a car. Isn’t that a little obvious?

No place for modernism

Like many well-heeled Brits, Paul Morrell, winner of Building’s Outstanding Contribution award, has a second home in the south of France. Back when he bought it, though, it was a crumbling pile in need of renovation. The late Tony Fitzpatrick of Arup flew over to lend a hand, fresh from fixing the Millennium Bridge, and Ken Shuttleworth designed a glass staircase for the hallway. Unfortunately, Shuttleworth’s modernist designs did not quite suit the rustic theme, and they were discreetly “value-engineered” out.

A grand gesture

May I offer my congratulations to Sir Terry Farrell, who wed Mei Xin Wang, the daughter of one of Chairman Mao’s army commissars, last weekend. As a wedding present, wellwishers are planning a “civic gesture” that would enliven a public space and mark Farrell’s contribution to the public realm. How about turning Nash’s All Souls in Regent Street into a giant aquarium?