This week we’ve gathered together everyone that wasn’t there, from very small politicians to very big businessmen, and launched an investigation into Albanian movies and Ray O’Rourke’s stationery

Sharp contrast

Remember the days when elderly enfant terrible Will Alsop would rail against the British architectural cabal of Norman Foster, Nick Grimshaw and Richard Rogers, inter alia? Well, it seems the rebel has been tamed.

Alsop’s RIBA Award-winning Palestra office building is now home to Design for London, which is the Greater London Authority’s architectural department. In fact, just a few weeks ago I saw no less an establishment figure than Lord Rogers beat a path to Alsop’s building wearing an arresting magenta and turquoise shirt. I’m no Trinny nor even a Susannah, but I must say his apparel contrasted nicely with the lop-sided building’s canary yellow cladding panels…

His name was writ in water

Poor old Ken Shuttleworth. In spite of bidding for every Olympic project going, Make has failed to make the shortlist for any high-profile buildings. You can’t keep a good man down, though. Word reaches us that Shuttleworth & Co is preparing to bid for the design of the temporary handball venue, which will be taken down shortly after the Games. So much for the 2012 legacy, eh Kenneth?


There was a good turnout at Kier’s reception at the House of Commons’ terrace last week, including a few old faces – and construction ministers. As John Dodds, Kier’s chief executive, introduced Nick Raynsford, the speaker for the evening, he sheepishly looked round the room. “I have to be careful what I say because I spotted Nigel Griffiths earlier,” said Dodds, “but I must say Nick was the best construction minister I’ve known.” I looked for the pint-sized Griffiths’ reaction, but he was nowhere to be seen. Dodds should know better than to play politics at Westminster.

Credit: Scott Garrett

Yellow fever

Last week we revealed that Mace employees had been banned from using Facebook, but it turns out they have it easy compared with staff at Laing O’Rourke’s Dartford office. Bernadette O’Rourke, group corporate affairs director and general she-who-must-be-obeyed, thinks humble yellow Post-it notes are the scourge of a tidy and efficient office and has made them verboten. Anyone who has left a message at LO’R that never got passed on now knows why.

Sir Stuart’s slip

There was one notable absentee from the hundreds of industry guests who flocked to Davis Langdon’s summer bash at Inner Temple last week: Sir Stuart Lipton, founder of Stanhope and former chairman of Cabe. It hasn’t been a good few months for Lipton. After the heartbreak of narrowly missing out on the chairman’s job at the Olympic Delivery Authority earlier this year, it seems Lipton has suffered another injury – fracturing a leg tripping over a carpet. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Sir S – or at least before the Christmas party season kicks in …

Mr Grimsdale!

As every schoolboy knows, Norman Wisdom is the biggest film star in Albania. Now it seems he could soon have competition from Gleeds, which is working with developer Alban Xhillari to convert palaces belonging to Crown Prince Zog. It just so happens that Alban Xhillari also owns a cinema in the capital of Tirana, and visitors are being entertained with glossy adverts for the QS before the main feature. How long is it, we wonder, before it achieves fame of Wisdom-like proportions?