This week, the past is dug up and pored over, we dance and boat race our way to the present, then bury the present back into the ground in the hope that one day it is discovered by the future
The party goes on
Construction’s summer parties are now in full swing, and a trio of my hacks were delighted to attend AKT II’s 20th birthday bash at the Serpentine Pavilion at London’s Kensington Gardens on Monday. It was a fittingly striking venue for the innovative engineer’s bash, given the firm helped architect BIG design the pavilion that has been likened to an “unzipped wall”. Brexit was inevitably a topic of conversation, with most guests expressing anxiety in hushed tones, although there was a general consensus of “let’s wait and see”. AKT II co-founder Hanif Kara toasted the firm’s success and said he was looking forward “to the next 20 years”, although added: “But maybe forget the next two.”
Cut to the bone
Today’s construction professionals should take note of how 16th century builders dealt with inflating materials costs. It has been discovered that some canny builders back in the day used bones from local slaughterhouses for cheap flooring. This tactile surface was installed in Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre and discovered during the archaeological dig at Cain Hoy and Galliard Homes’ development, The Stage, designed by Perkins + Will, in London’s Shoreditch. According to the Museum of Archaeology, materials such as timber were incredibly expensive at the time the theatre was built so it seems someone found a way to cut costs.
Rock around the clock
The Normans, of course, were already recycling stone and rock long before the Curtain Theatre was a glint in Shakespeare’s eye. Those lucky enough to be at the SIOR gala at the Tower of London last week were informed by a stout yeoman that at the top of the White Tower - built on the orders of William the Conqueror - Roman writing on the stone can be seen. The stone keep’s construction began in the 1070s and is thought to have been completed by 1100 - a similar time frame to one of the options for the restoration of the Palace of Westminster.
As time goes by
Continuing this week’s theme of the past re-entering the present, a timecapsule from 1957 has been discovered during the demolition of a former convent. The capsule contained religious medallions, coins and a manuscript signed by Rt Reverend Bishop George L Craven. PegasusLife, which is delivering homes for the over 60s on the site of the old Bartrams convent in north London, has donated the capsule to nearby Rosary Primary School which, in turn, has helped the firm create a new time capsule to be buried under the development.
Lloyds Bank, Lendlease and Newham council have joined up to launch the Lloyds Bank Construction Skills Centre at Stratford’s International Quarter, which is being built by Lendlease. The centre, backed by Lloyds to the tune of £1m, will be a hub for the co-ordination of construction professionals and operatives, and enable the council’s job brokerage service Workplace to deliver bespoke construction training for local residents. Activities to inspire young people to become the next generation of construction workers include apprenticeships and higher education and training pathways.
Get them young
A construction game based on Minecraft aims to bring all the fun of construction to the next generation. Craft your Future, aimed at 12-14 year olds, has been launched by the CIOB.
There be dragons
Team spirit was alive and dripping at the Construction Industry Dragon Boat Challenge, as 40 teams battled each other - and the elements - to be crowned Challenge Champions in charity Crash’s 20th anniversary year. Congrats to rouGHDiamonds, from engineering consultant GHD, who won with a time of 40.43 seconds. The Blenheim Blasters, from Blenheim House Construction, came second while Cursed O’Callaghan, from Eckersley O’Callaghan, were third. Weber Warriors, from Saint-Gobain Weber, deserve a big congratulations after raising over £3,100, contributing to a total of £28,600 raised for Crash.
Building’s team - BE Barracudas, dressed in “French” attire - came a respectable 39th … ahem.
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