While architects have had a jolly time parading in period dress and tucking into sumptuous desserts, it’s been a week of rotten luck for democracy, Capita Symonds and a soccer squad or two
Confined to Barracks
Lord Rogers must have regretted agreeing to speak at the latest Movers and Shakers breakfast last week, as the seemingly endless Chelsea Barracks saga was back on the nation’s front pages, with more details emerging over who knew what when. Fielding the inevitable question from Cabe chair Paul Finch, Rogers was pretty diplomatic, given the fact his firm was left £1.5m out of pocket by the scheme’s withdrawal. He mused, to a ripple of appreciation, that it would be nice to live in a democracy rather than a feudal society. His ultimate conclusion on the whole sorry saga? “I just wish we’d come second in the Candys’ competition.”
Up to the top of the hill
The London Festival of Architecture, which began last Friday, has staged some bizarre stunts in its time (remember those sheep that were herded over London Bridge by Rogers and Renzo Piano?) But on Saturday it reached new heights - or depths, depending on your point of view - by persuading some big architectural names to don fancy dress for a procession up Regent Street. Will Alsop starred in this odd pageant, dressed as regency architect John Nash. Meanwhile, architect-turned-developer Roger Zogolovitch and Cabe’s Paul Finch dressed up as the Prince Regent and the Grand Old Duke of York. Who says the architectural community takes itself too seriously?
What a difference nine seconds make
Davis Langdon was celebrating victory over Capita Symonds this weekend. Not in a client pitch, however. No, it beat its rival in a gruelling 24-hour cycling marathon, the Ride 24 race around the Top Gear test track in Surrey. DL came 35th out of 86 competitors but a source close to the team suggested that the main thing was that it beat Capita Symonds. And the difference between them over 24 hours? Nine seconds. Still, a win is a win. DL raised money for children’s charity Action Medical Research. You can donate at www.action.org. uk/sponsor/davis langdon ride24
He’s a jelly good fellow
And so to Richard Rogers’ third appearance of the week - as jelly aficionado. Jellymongers Bompas and Parr have been unofficial caterers to the architectural industry ever since their 2008 competition to design a jelly mould. At a recent jelly lecture (I’m a man of diverse interests), the pair gave some telling insights into Rogers’ and Norman Foster’s rival designs for the contest. Foster’s effort, based on the famously wobbly Millennium bridge, fell far wide of the mark.
“We had to use Perspex to hold it up,” lamented Sam Bompas. “He didn’t really get it.” But Rogers’ 16-flavour Barajas airport design won resounding approval from Harry Parr. “That man really understands jelly,” he said, wistfully. The admiration must have been mutual - the gelatinous terminal was commissioned again - for the great man’s birthday party.
That’s enough from them …
And this week’s Gary Lineker award for the press release most tenuously linked to the World Cup goes to the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce. “Work out through the World Cup!” it urged, advertising a deal for its members to join a gym. The “best” bit was the email’s subject line: “Chamber E-news - Like a vuvuzela in your inbox.” Frankly, I can’t imagine anything more inconvenient …
… Now over to you
It’s been a funny old World Cup, where the least likely teams have turned out to be heroes on the pitch. So, if you have the hidden talent of Mexico or Serbia, we’d love to hear from you. We’re asking people to film their soccer skills (on an iPhone or similar), upload the video to YouTube.com and email us the link at email@example.com. The prize is two tickets to see England play in their first qualifying game of the European Championship. Come and have a go if you think you’re good enough …