Women refuse to settle for second best this week: Zaha Hadid requests the perfect employee, Angela Brady takes charge at the Lib Dem conference and Mrs Stefanou - sorry: Debbie - takes us to task
She takes no prisoners
RIBA president Angela Brady is on a mission in her new role and no mistake. Brady was spotted at last week’s Lib Dem conference acting more like a leading politician than a leading architect by glad handing every member of the audience at an RIBA-hosted fringe event on housing. She also showed her mettle as the chair of the ensuing debate by cutting off communities minister Andrew Stunell almost mid-sentence when he showed signs of waffling. She scared Richard Kemp, panelist and vice chairman of the Local Government Association, into submission too: “I’m not going to argue with her either,” he said meekly.
Only the brave need apply
Talking of formidable women in architecture, Zaha Hadid is advertising for a new general manager for her 300-strong Clerkenwell-based practice. Hadid famously told Building earlier this year that many people were scared of her. Candidates will have to show “at least 10 years commercial management experience in an architectural or design environment” along with a “profound knowledge” of skills such as finance processes, HR, contract negotiation, international business awareness, leadership and communication. And nerves of steel.
Jeremy’ll fix it for you
Hansom would like to issue a heartfelt apology to Jeremy Horner, Davis Langdon’s Europe and Middle East chief executive. Horner has always been most helpful to Building, but even we accept that asking him to fix one of our broken printers is beyond the call of duty. A slight dialling mishap here at Building Towers this week saw one of my colleagues hit “redial” after numerous attempts to contact our IT helpdesk. Little did they know it automatically phoned the last full number dialled rather than the internal IT code - none other than Horner’s mobile number. Horner, after a few seconds of confused and bewildered conversation, soon saw the funny side and politely informed my hack he was unable to connect the Building computers to a new printer … particularly not from his business trip in Abu Dhabi.
My apologies, Debbie
Last week I reported that Doyle Group chairman Stef Stefanou’s wife was the lucky winner of a car at the Alliance Ball, but it seems that, despite being pleased with her new set of wheels, Mrs S was non-plussed at being referred to by me as “the wife of Stef Stefanou”. She asked her husband to take me to task over the fact that she does have a name. Presumably to ensure he’d get an appropriately generous 70th birthday present this week, Stef duly asked me to make amends. Debbie, I am happy to oblige.
Thanks to the Daily Mail
What pops to mind when I say “Daily Mail Town”? A right-wing enclave with the strictest of bans on rioters, immigrants, single mothers and the overweight? Think again. According to the Mail’s Harry Mount, you should have visualised the lovely town of Letchworth - the world’s first garden city. In an enlightening puff piece, Mount explains that garden cities became known as Daily Mail towns after Lord Northcliffe, the paper’s founder, backed the creation of Letchworth to the tune of £1,000 … in 1902.
Gobble, gobble, gobble
The man in charge of public policy at the RICS, Jeremy Blackburn, can boast to having had access to the corridors of Number 10 and hob-nobbing with former prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. But alas, these encounters pre-date his arrival at the RICS. As his colleagues are keen to remind him, he was granted access to the PM but once a year - to present the household with a Christmas turkey in his former guise as head of policy for the British Poultry Council. Blackburn told me that the gig came with a photo op for posterity until Number 10 stepped in and suggested a picture of Gordon Brown with a turkey might lead to unfortunate headlines …