In this spookiest of weeks, skeletons are found lurking under old Epsom racecourse, a site manager shares his disturbing visions and Will Alsop is the wickedest man in Paris
A suitably macabre tale for this time of year reaches me from Epsom racecourse, which is being redeveloped by Willmott Dixon. Apparently work was halted when workers demolishing the old grandstand got a rather grisly surprise – they discovered three human skeletons underneath the 1914 structure. After some deliberation, the police decided work could continue as, at over 90 years old, the remains were older then the statutory limit that required investigation. Just goes to show, it’s worth boning up on regulations.
Ooh, you are awful
It’s lucky Alsop and McLean sounds like the name of an end-of-the-pier comedy show, because that’s exactly what we got from the talk given by architect Will Alsop and artist Bruce McLean at the RIBA international conference in Paris last week. “This is going to be a disaster,” began Alsop before the pair aired their grievances on, variously, Dutch clients (“They make the Scots look generous,” said Alsop), McLean’s teaching skills, and good practice. “Good practice is awful,” said Alsop. “We specialise in bad practice.” After the show, a well-intentioned delegate asked if they’d appear at her firm’s Christmas party.
Words of wisdom
Duncan Kenworthy, the producer of Four Weddings and a Funeral, gave a speech to delegates at the RIBA conference about the similarities between the construction and film-making processes. Kenworthy admitted to being slightly nervous when asked to talk about construction to a roomful of architects: “The first words that came to mind were the first 13 of Four Weddings,” he said. And if you’ve forgotten what they are, suffice it to say they involve the repetition of and subsequent variation upon a particularly descriptive four-letter word – coincidentally, the same word that comes to most people’s minds when talking to architects about construction …
Fish for fat cats
The aquarium at the Grimshaw-designed Nirah centre may be one of the world’s biggest, but word reaches me that property tycoon Gerald Ronson is keen on establishing a fishy record of his own. Apparently one of the more contentious issues surrounding Ronson’s planned 246m-tall Heron Tower in the City is the construction of what would be the UK’s largest office aquarium in the building’s lobby. “It has been in and out and then back in again,” says my source. I’m sure Ronson’s hoping this doesn’t become the tale of the one that got away.
He likes Lance a lot
It seems that US cyclist Lance Armstrong owes a debt of gratitude to the boss of outsourcing firm Capita Symonds. Jonathan Goring, the company’s managing director, has been badgering colleagues to read the autobiography of the cancer survivor and seven-time winner of the Tour de France. He is so keen for people to hear Armstrong’s message that he keeps two or three copies of the book in his office at all times.
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