We avoid the cold wind blasting a London office block and instead wrap up warm in a woolly JCB jumper and settle down before an Olympic fire to enjoy an architect-assessed Sunday roast. Perfect
The sincerest form of flattery
Norman Foster appeared to have taken his place alongside such great minds such as Paris Hilton and Peter Andre by joining the social networking site Twitter. Someone styling themselves SirNormanFoster began tweeting on 25 October and has been treating followers to such passionate musings as: “Ah, the smell of a Sunday roast – music to my nostrils!” and “God I hate printers!!!”, as well as the possibly sarcastic: “Congrats to Rogers for winning the Stirling prize! Fantastic architecture.” However, a call to the great man’s press office revealed that the tweeter is an imposter. This did not come as a complete surprise to me (Lord Norman Foster might have had me going for a while), but I do wonder who would want to impersonate him.
Domestic self-sufficiency …
Even before the International Olympics Committee this year banned the practice of taking the sacred torch on its international tour, I hear the organisers of 2012 had decided to bin the 76-year-old tradition. At a recent briefing Martin Green, head of ceremonies at the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, said (with a theatrical flourish): “We don’t need to take the torch through other nations. We have every nation here in Britain.” Indeed. It couldn’t also be, could it, that we’re concerned people may register their feelings about Britain the way some did about China during the 2008 relay?
… and international expansion
I found Mr Green a charming fellow, but he does appear to have a selective memory. “The torch was created as a symbol of reconciliation,” he added. Well, in a sense. The torch tradition was resurrected in 1926, but it was first used as an integral part of the Olympic ceremony by a certain Adolf Hitler, who was attempting to show a link between Ancient Greece and the Third Reich. As the torch passed throughout south-east Europe, the only thing crowds who turned out to watch were presumably being invited to reconcile themselves to was impending invasion.
Hot this season
Hold Building’s fashion pages! Hang on, we don’t have any. But if we did, we would certainly cover the launch of the new JCB winter workwear collection this week. The “hardwearing yet fashionable” range is named after a selection of towns in Staffordshire, home of JCB, the press release enthuses. Visit www.jcbworkwear.com to admire the Sudbury body warmer, the Tamworth soft shell jacket and, my favourite, the Hanley sock.
The art of construction
Our industry is making an unexpected impact in the art world. The National Portrait Gallery is showing the first six in a series of photographs of key characters behind London’s winning bid for the Olympics. Meanwhile, Somerset House is displaying paintings of building sites by Frank Auerbach, and Oxford’s Ashmolean museum, fresh from its recent refurb, is exhibiting work by a Chinese artist who has drawn everyone involved the construction work, from labourers to architect. What next? A diamond-encrusted kango? Or perhaps Ray O’Rourke’s bed?
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