Could Wembley have a future as a volleyball court? Is the office market inspired by communists? We have the answers to these questions and more …
Wembley has its Cup Final
Multiplex may not have managed to complete Wembley in time to host last weekend's FA Cup final, but that didn't stop managing director Martin Tidd fulfilling his pledge to watch the game at Wembley. While legions of West Ham and Liverpool fans were filling the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Tidd, Wembley project director Ashley Muldoon and about 30 workers staged their own cup final party from one of the (few) completed stands in Wembley, complete with big screens and an Aussie "barbie". Muldoon, it seems, was in especially resourceful mood: according to my spy in the camp, he was seen contemplating the builder's sand lying in the pitch area before remarking:
"I guess we could have had a volleyball tournament instead …"
A man of few words
To the British Council of Offices' annual conference in Dublin last week, where Roger Madelin, chief executive of regeneration specialist Argent, was his characteristically emphatic self. Speaking at a seminar on mixed-use schemes and communities, he expressed his relief that he was not taking part in the debate on the controversial planning gain supplement that was rumbling on in a next-door room. "How many ways are there to say that it's bollocks?" he mused helpfully.
Miles and miles of carbon
Given the BCO conference's focus on carbon footprints and sustainable building, several delegates noted the irony that almost everybody there had had to fly in. "We should really have all cycled to a conference centre in central London," said one visitor. Incidentally, next year's conference, which is likely to focus again on sustainability, is planned for New York.
Architects can be a strange lot. In a seminar on the future of offices at the conference, Jan Kaplicky of Future Systems surprised the audience by showing them a series of pictures, including pebbles, other miscellaneous objects and communist dictators, then asking the perfectly natural question: "Is this the office of the future?" for each. My spies tell me that the resounding answer from bemused spectators was, "No, actually". Perhaps he just got his slides in the wrong order.
TB and the BG
The Labour party centenary dinner at Park Lane's Hilton hotel last week gave Tony Blair a much-needed opportunity to rally his divided and beleaguered troops. Always one to enjoy hobnobbing with the stars of showbiz, he must have been particularly pleased to have been introduced to the stage by Robin Gibb, of Bee Gees fame. Sightings of Blair singing along defiantly as Gibb belted out the disco hit Staying Alive later in the evening have yet to be confirmed.
Lancelot switches allegiance
There were a few red faces in the Caribbean this week and it was not just because of the blistering sun. Sailors from QS Davis Langdon who had somehow dragged themselves away from the office to compete in Antiguan Sailing Week (the Caribbean equivalent of Little Britain) were unimpressed to find that the 40 ft yacht they had chartered was emblazoned with the logo of rival QS firm Gleeds. Apparently the 40 ft boat, called "Lancelot", is sponsored by Gleeds throughout the year. A source tells me that it was all hands to the deck to lower the Gleeds spinnaker as quickly as possible before the race started.
Beach runs aground
If you were thinking about donning your swimming trunks or itsy bitsy bikini and heading over to London's first urban beach on the South Bank this summer, you'll have to make alternative arrangements. News reaches Building that plans for the proposed beach, which received planning permission from Lambeth council last November, have been pulled. The development was going to include a 1000-seat open-air cinema, beach bar, cafe, sports and arts activity zones and market stalls. But, alas, it has been cancelled after the organisers failed to agree a contract with the South Bank Centre. So, back to Bognor, then.
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