This week’s leaders are Richard Rogers, a cyclist who’s rumoured to be taking performance-enhancing taxis, Jack Pringle – quite pacy on a wooden leg – and HOK, driving round town in a summer pavilion …
The freewheeling Richard Rogers
So the Tour de Farce finally wound its controversial way to a close in Paris last Sunday. It all seems such a long time ago that Ken Livingstone proclaimed Le Tour as a “superb opportunity” to promote London as a “cycling city”. A pity, then, that Lord Rogers isn’t quite on message. One of my spies spotted the architect last week outside the Palestra building in south London struggling with a folding bike. A taxi pulled up and, after several minutes, the driver hopped out to help the esteemed designer load it into the back. The cab then sped off. Obviously Rogers was keen to catch up with the peloton.
A very temporary structure
HOK welcomed guests to its annual do at the Architectural Association’s summer pavilion last week. A good time was had by all, but I hear that officialdom had mixed feelings about the venue. Camden council was supportive, but a zealous, if slightly shortsighted, traffic warden stopped to ask builders if they had a permit for the giant construction. As Building went to press it had yet to be towed away.
Sex ’n’ drugs ’n’ occupational health
Constructing Better Health (CBH) is clearly going to extreme lengths to get the word out to the masses. A colleague attending the Spanish rock festival Benicàssim spotted a group of trendy young things sporting tight-fit www.fitbuilder.com T-shirts. As the group was neither fit nor made up of builders, one wonders whether the garments were being worn ironically, or if CBH has started a fashion trend? Similar sightings to the usual address please …
The permanent secretary in red
More name-related frivolity from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. Senior department figures have reportedly sent an edict requiring civil servants to refer to it as “Berr”. Why? Not only was the chorus “We’re only here for ‘da-berr’” starting to become ubiquitous (see Hansom’s passim), but cheeky mandarins had also started calling the department “Chris” for short.
Davis Langdon’s bosses must have been somewhat dismayed at revelations in last week’s press about Edward “Bear” Grylls, the survival guru who DL once sponsored to climb Everest. The “born survivor” has been accused of faking scenes in his extreme survival TV show and bedding down in luxury hotels instead of sleeping rough. Then again, given that there has been talk of sending DL’s top brass for survival training from the man himself, perhaps they’re quite relieved.
A sensible response to the weather
Olympic chiefs worried that a repeat of this summer’s rainfall could ruin the 2012 Games should take a lesson from the Chinese authorities, who are preparing anti-aircraft guns and rocket launchers to open fire on troublesome weather systems during Beijing 2008. Apparently, firing silver iodide powder into the sky stops rain falling. Expect gun turrets to make an appearance on the forthcoming Olympic stadium designs.
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