The Prince of Wales loses another friend, the Shard team unwind to a bunch of gnarled old punks and a senior architect has reason to feel aggrieved/flattered after a judge draws an unlikely comparison
Farewell sweet prince
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) seems to have taken Prince Charles’ decision, announced at the weekend, to resign as a patron rather well. To recap, SPAB asked the prince to strike a passage from a foreword to The Old House Handbook stating that modern additions to old buildings were a no-no. He refused and waved goodbye. But Philip Venning, secretary of SPAB, seems fairly relaxed about the move. Quoting William Morris’ SPAB manifesto of 1877, he tells Hansom: “What we don’t want to end up with is ‘feeble and lifeless forgeries’.” I think it’s fair to say his knighthood is no longer assured.
You can trust Building to get the scoop. Greg Rake, who recently moved to Tripoli to lead Drake & Scull International’s business there, was interested to hear about the anonymous expat we quoted in our recent Libya feature (12 June) who revealed he was living rather a wild lifestyle, contrary to the country’s reputation. Apparently this is not an easy thing to do. Greg jokes: “Can you give me contact details of the ‘anonymous expat’. I need to find this guy urgently and make him my best buddy!” Sorry Greg, but we can’t reveal our sources.
Moshing with Mace
Rather more wild, it turns out, is the team from Mace led by Ian Eggers that has spent the past 18 months in a bunker under London Bridge working out the details for the Shard. Apparently the number-crunching created a strong desire for post-work entertainment, so Eggers took his team to see the Sex Pistols and the Buzzcocks, among others. I understand that the Shard bunch were not shy of spending time in the mosh pit, with the odd pint of beer administered externally to cool them down. Eggers has now moved to head Mace’s construction management business. Does the same fate await his new team?
Who knew that Aukett Fitzroy Robinson was the Spice Girls of construction? When Justice Coulson ruled last week that the architect was guilty of misrepresentation, he cited a case in which the Spice Girls failed to inform motorcycle firm Aprilia that Geri Halliwell was leaving the group before signing a contract. Aukett’s sin was to fail to tell developer Simon Halabi that Jeremy Blake – now a director at Purcell Miller Triton – was leaving. In the words of the judge: “Perhaps it was the first time in his life that Mr Blake had been compared to Geri Halliwell, but in terms of their personal importance to the contracts being negotiated, they were in a similar position.” Can we now expect the mild-mannered Blake to release his own range of fitness videos and children’s books?
The mighty Quin
Specialist contractor McGee has taken a literal approach to beefing up its team by recruiting former Harlequins player Chris Wright as a business development consultant. The rugby star was famed for his “versatile” style on the pitch in his 77 appearances for the west London club, according to the Professional Rugby Players Association. So he should have no problem helping McGee in the scramble – or should I say scrum – for new work.