Create your own unique buildings using Lego bricks, see your dreams of a replica Eiffel Tower come true, watch as a dead monarch’s head comes back to life, be amazed as Battersea’s crumbling towers are resurrected …
Clash of the titans
With Carillion’s pursuit of Balfour Beatty becoming more and more heated in recent weeks - relations between the two contracting giants becoming increasingly terse - one hopes that whoever is drawing up the seating plan at the next board meeting of logistics firm Wincanton has been taking note. Balfour Beatty executive chair Steve Marshall doubles as chair of Wincanton, and Carillion finance director Richard Adam was appointed as a non-executive director of the firm in June. Oh, to be a fly on the wall at that meeting!
Wonders and blunders
It was said of the last Middle East property boom that someone should have realised things were getting out of hand when developers were building luxury villas on man-made islands designed to look like palm trees or the world itself. Well, it has come to my attention that a developer in Dubai is now planning a massive mixed-use scheme featuring several replica wonders from elsewhere in the world - including the Leaning Tower of Pisa, London’s Big Ben, the Great Wall of China, the pyramids of Giza, the Taj Mahal and the Eiffel Tower, with the latter two wonders promised to be “bigger than the originals”. The Falconcity of Wonders scheme is shaped, you guessed it, like a falcon. Should we be concerned?
Do try this at home
Construction firms are stuffed full of Lego geeks living out their childhood brick-built fantasies on a large scale. But their Lego bricks tend to stay in the garage or attic at home. Until now, perhaps. The Danish toy company has launched a product in the UK squarely aimed at these Lego fans, and potentially their office shelves. Lego Architecture Studio is a 1,200 all-white brick set, complete with an “inspirational guidebook” endorsed by high-profile architects including SOM. Slightly unfortunate that the first edition of the guidebook named Mies van der Rohe as the architect of the New York Guggenheim but then with Lego, we can all pretend to be Frank Lloyd Wright.
Over my dead body
Prize for understatement of the week goes to Leicester-based architects Maber, who have got in touch to celebrate the successful delivery of its £4m visitor centre for the newly-discovered grave of Richard III. The visitor centre opened last month and is likely to attract 100,000 visitors a year. Paul East, director at Maber, said: “We had to build over the grave of a former king of England - which is obviously a very unique project for Maber.” The centre will include the king’s grave, a reconstruction of the monarch’s head and a 3D print of the king’s remains - the remains themselves are to reburied in Leicester cathedral in March next year.
Pop band the Kaiser Chiefs dropped in on Keepmoat last week to celebrate the firm’s charitable project to install a disabled ramp at the Leeds recording studio that launched the band’s career. Frontman Ricky “I predict a riot” Wilson and his bandmates reminisced about the studio, signed autographs and appeared in builders’ photos. Keepmoat donated materials and labour to install the ramp at the Old Chapel music studios in the city’s Holbeck area. Aside from the Kaiser Chiefs, the studio has also been used by other famous bands including Embrace and The Pigeon Detectives. The ramp has been welcomed by musicians, including singer Brian Spencer, a wheelchair user. Nice work, Keepmoat.
The big smoke
The fate of Battersea Power Station’s four iconic 103m-tall chimneys has been the focus of media speculation ever since Malaysian investors swooped in to rescue plansto redevelop the station in 2012. This column reported on frantic work behind the scenes to try to save the badly crumbling chimneys. Sadly the damage was judged to be terminal and work began this week to dismantle the first south-west chimney, which, along with the other three chimneys, will ultimately be rebuilt using the same combination of concrete and steel reinforcement by 2016, albeit to modern specifications.
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