It’s the 1940s again, with Spitfires soaring overhead, liberty ships lurking in the Thames Estuary and an attempt to reshape London’s landscape that is about as popular as the Luftwaffe’s
It seems Ken Livingstone can’t please anyone these days. Some would argue that pushing forward a programme that creates 100 public spaces for London is one of his better ideas, but the public weren’t impressed at the opening of the first space last week in Hackney. Livingstone was greeted by jeers from members of the crowd, most of whom were protesting against a proposed Arup development across the road. Perhaps they were still a little sore, too, at the mayor’s recent trip to Cuba at their expense.
Danny played guitar …
Daniel Libeskind was in town to give the British Cement Association Berthold Lubetkin Memorial Lecture at The Concrete Centre. And he was every bit the architectural rock star. He played his greatest hit, “My David vs Goliath fight against vile Ground Zero developer Larry Silverstein”, waved and sent kisses to the stage and gave an autograph to an awe-struck architecture student. But, one audience member asked, can Danny be a real star if, unlike Frank Gehry, he has yet to appear in The Simpsons? Libeskind’s sweetly malicious response was: “I admire Frank. He’s a very good friend of mine … I think he fits very well with the Simpsons.”
Close finish in a one-horse race
As the awards season gets fully under way, spare a thought for engineer PT Gistama Intisemesta. Things were looking good for the firm last week: its Astra Honda motor plant in Indonesia was the only project shortlisted under the industrial and process structures category of the 2006 Institution of Structural engineers awards. However, the joy turned to despair when the awards were announced on Wednesday – somehow, the firm still didn’t win, but instead had to make do with a commendation. Maybe next year …
The enemy below
Just as Sir Terry Farrell seemed to be making some headway with the Thames Gateway, the Second World War may be about to scupper his plans. Farrell’s masterplan includes a new bridge over the Thames, but I’m reliably informed, one of the link roads passes over the site of the SS Richard Montgomery. For the uninitiated, the Montgomery was an American liberty ship that sunk off the Isle of Sheppey in 1944, its descent made all the swifter by the 1,500 tonnes of munitions it was carrying. Ever since, it has been quietly rusting away off the Kent coast, with its explosive intact. Some conspiracy theorists believe that if it went off, the Montgomery could spark a tsunami. Others say it would shatter a few window panes in Sheerness.
I hear that employees at consultant Turner & Townsend have found a new use for the company database. Having discovered that every employee must provide a photograph for the internal website, staff have begun to use it as their very own dating service. The wonders of the internet …
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