On the menu this August we have tasteful art shows, oh-so-sweet cricket matches and an example of over-healthy team bonding, all washed down with a few pints of beer and a cheeky little red
Always read the small print
A contract can make the difference between a successful project and an empty company bank balance. So how do you make sure a project’s precious documents are read by fellow firms? One architecture practice apparently tested the studiousness of contractors and clients by inserting a clause deep within the contract that the contractor provide the client and the architect with as much beer as they wanted, whenever they wanted it, during the construction phase of the project. An explanation on an online message board reads: “If the contractor read the construction notes, that requirement would be pulled out and eliminated. Otherwise it inevitably showed up in the legal proceedings, to the amusement of the judge and the horror of the contractor’s legal team.”
It’s in the Genes
Thumbs up this week to KPF chairman and octogenarian Gene Kohn who somehow finds time to juggle the demands of running an international architecture firm with painting watercolours. This autumn, a selection will be put up for auction as part of an exhibition taking place in Hong Kong, with the proceeds donated to cancer care and research in Kohn’s native US. His talents clearly run in the family. After all, his mother Hannah Kohn was an accomplished painter in her own right and later in life enjoyed a show of her work at the Guggenheim Museum on her 100th birthday.
Long live Arupia!
We’re all for company identity at Building, but Arup employees seem to be taking their love of the engineering firm to new heights. A press release has reached us entitled: “Arupians get Shenzhen set and ready for the limelight”. Arupians? Have employees of the firm taken to thinking of themselves as part of an Arup nation? One can only speculate as to whether the land of Arup also has a flag and national anthem.
Intriguing new details are emerging on “Testbed”, the performance venue within architect Will Alsop’s new Battersea-based practice ALL Design. Alsop’s PRs coyly describe it as a “platform for events and debates” but one wonders if it is more of a platform for parties, given that pride of place in Testbed is given to a strange contraption on bicycle wheels dubbed the “mobile bar”. Perhaps a visit is in order - all in the name of investigative journalism of course …
As good as it gets
For cricket-mad Lance Taylor, Rider Levett Bucknall’s chief executive, England’s victory over India in the Edgbaston test to claim the number one spot in world cricket rankings was all the sweeter. The match symbolised the culmination of his company’s two-year involvement in the battle to construct and finish the cricket ground’s £20m pavilion in time for the match to take place. Overcome by the emotion of it all, Taylor said he had tears in his eyes for much of the first session. “It was almost perfect,” Taylor says. “My only complaint was Tendulkar missing out on a historic 100th 100 after a ’flukey’ wicket.” Well, I suppose some things are just beyond the control of even the most accomplished cost consultant.
The immediate impact of the riots in London, Birmingham and Liverpool we are, unfortunately, all too familiar with: the burned out shops, smashed windows, abandoned and broken cars. But it’s not restricted to short-term impacts. I hear the developers have been pulling out of land deals in riot-affected areas across London particularly, where the land market has been otherwise quite lively. One sale in Peckham was on the point of being inked before rioters tore up and down the high street and Rye Lane. The morning after the unrest the developer withdrew. It’s sad that the short-term actions of some mindless yoof may also lead to those communities being starved of further private investment.