The bold and the beautiful at Dubai’s latest luxury resort get a nasty shock, a celebrity gardener is rudely excluded and a mathematically minded company boss makes a third blunder

Gardening leave

The camera following Kevin McCloud as he strolled through the audience while presenting this year’s Stirling prize caught several architects’ faces, but, sadly, celebrity judge Diarmuid Gavin failed to make a television appearance.

The Irish gardener had make-up applied, was miked-up and briefed by studio staff, only to be unceremoniously bumped at the last minute as the live show overran.

It wouldn’t have happened to Dermot O’Leary …

Flat rate

Accordia may have won the main Stirling prize, but it missed out on the Manser medal for housing, a £5,000 award handed out on the same night. That honour went to Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ Oxley Woods, a flat-pack scheme it cooked up with Taylor Wimpey and English Partnerships. Each unit can be built for just £60,000, so Taywimp must be selling them for a commensurately affordable price, mustn’t it? Er, no. A source tells me one of the larger units was recently on the market for a cool £500,000. Now, if only it could actually start selling a few more of these homes, it might not be in so much trouble.

Out for the count

Last week I ribbed Oakdene boss Carl Turpin about his ability to count. First it was his statement that “about 200” homes were sold in 2007, which turned out to be 140. Then the housebuilder fell a million shares short of its target to raise £5m in the City. Now I can report a third miscalculation by Turpin who, I am told, is a trained accountant. On 1 October he said a deal with its banks to relax breached lending covenants would happen in seven days. By 8 October (you guessed it) no news. Carl, this is becoming a habit.

What a Dump

The Gulf has a fixation with superlatives: the tallest towers, the most extensive golf resorts, and, of course, the world’s largest vacuum sewerage system, which developer Nakheel has installed on the Palm Jumeirah, its artificial island off the coast of Dubai. However, the system is not quite ready for the big suck so a stop-gap sewage plan has been put into action. Trucks (painted with flowers – what else?) were assigned to collect waste and deposit it far away from the island paradise. The lorry drivers, however – perhaps reluctant to drag their loads through the notoriously slow Dubai traffic in the heat – began pumping their loads into the island’s manholes. If you’re wondering what the result was, let’s just say the beaches of the Palm aren’t quite the idyllic haven the developer had hoped.

It’s my pen name

I hear environmental engineer Waterman Group is no more. Never fear – the company is still very much flourishing but has now dropped the “group” and become simply Waterman. Bizarrely, the rebranding follows a legal tussle with the Waterman pen company, which had previously laid claim to the moniker. The legal niceties are complex but the luxury penmaker has now become buried so far within parent company Sanford that the engineer can finally refer to itself as the one and only Waterman. I dread to think how much this little exercise has cost them, especially considering the fact everyone always called them Waterman anyway.

Stand tall

You might have thought that Woods Bagot would be pleased. After all it had just won a commission to design the (latest) world’s tallest tower in Dubai. It was able to celebrate this achievement at a lavish party last week in Marylebone, central London. However, mum was definitely the watchword of the evening. Staff have been banned from discussing any details of the 1km-high project, presumably to avoid offending client Nakheel. Strange, then, that the slideshow on the evening contained a number of press articles on the scheme and the architect’s involvement. Surely just coincidence …?