Respect to Fairview Homes for doing the impossible: making breakfast with Iain Duncan Smith seem an interesting proposition. The housebuilder sponsored the event in aid of children's charity Norwood in London last week, and it was a sell-out. Surely, the attendees can't have been attracted by property insights from Fairview's one-time sales director, nor by political analysis from the quiet man. So, having eliminated the impossible we arrive at the answer, however improbable: it was the invitation. This depicted the Duncan Smith in the technicolour style of an Andy Warhol painting … Covering the bases
The organisers of the World Trade Centre contest are facing a trilemma. They have to announce a winning architect this month – after careful consultation with the people of New York – but Daniel Libeskind, Peterson Littenberg Architects and our own Foster and Partners are tied for top spot. It seems that the locals like Foster's towers, Libeskind's memorial to the 9/11 victims and Peterson Littenburg's vast public garden.
Whichever wins – and it will most likely be a collaboration between several entrants – Arup has a good chance of celebrating. The consulting engineer is involved in four of the entries.
Ich bin ein Amerikan
While we're on the subject of the former twin towers, I hear that Daniel Libeskind needs to check his passport. When he built the Jewish Museum in Berlin, I distinctly got the impression that the conductor-turned-architect was German. But when he presented his submission for the World Trade Centre a few weeks ago, one member of a rival team was heard to observe wryly: "He's saying he's American now."
Wobbly vote of confidence
And speaking of Arup, former director Chris Wise had warm words for Ken Shuttleworth, Foster's right-hand man and the subject of an interview in Building last week. Wise, you may recall, gushed about the architect's design skills, describing him as "a brilliant man".
Interestingly, Wise and Shuttleworth have not spoken for several years: Wise, who left Arup a few years ago, fell out with Foster and Partners after working with them on the Millennium Bridge. When he heard that Foster was pitching for the World Trade Centre, Wise says he was tempted to call Shuttleworth and offer his services. He didn't, but having seen Foster's proposal, he wishes he had. "It would have been much better if I'd worked on it," he tells me.
Predictable? The Daily Mail!?
Although Building prides itself on setting the agenda for the industry, we don't usually claim to be clairvoyant. But last week, editor Adrian Barrick made a prediction in his leader that Mystic Meg would be proud of. Imparting the news that immigrant workers would benefit from a landmark wage deal at Heathrow's Terminal 5, Barrick wrote: "You can almost see the Daily Mail headline now: 'Refugees earn £55,000 at Heathrow'."
Shortly after, the Daily Mail followed up Building's scoop with a story headlined "Airport's £55,000 for refugees". So is Barrick psychic – or is it just that one tends to know in advance the line that that paper takes on such matters?