Despite the gloom, the industry has been Carrying On, thanks to some deliciously wobbly desserts and some naughty business in a public park

The Skylon’s the limit

The campaign to rebuild the 300ft Skylon tower on London’s South Bank, designed by Powell & Moya for the 1951 Festival of Britain, may be gathering pace, but not everybody’s impressed. While former RIBA president Jack Pringle is poring over the original drawings to reconstruct “one of the most awe-inspiring structures ever seen”, his staff at Pringle Brandon are not so bowled over. One moans: “Jack’s cleared half of the office out for this so he can get a film crew in to cover it. All this effort for something that has already been designed seems a bit much really.” Sounds like the campaign needs to start a little closer to home …

Festival spirit

Elsewhere, the London Festival of Architecture is having more luck bringing the public closer to the built form. Apparently, Wilkinson Eyre’s Anything But Grey installation in Benjamin Street Gardens is proving particularly attractive. One poor junior staffer sent out to close the installation for the night was shocked to discover two architecture fans so inspired by the erection that … well, they were enjoying one of their own. As one amused architectural source was heard to say: “Well, it is a festival, isn’t it?”

Throwing a wobbly

And still on the subject of the 2008 architecture festival, one keynote event provided enough bizarre goings-on to fill a month of these columns. I am referring, of course, to Bompas & Parr’s jelly banquet, where half-naked jelly wrestling and wobbly dancers contributed to a kind of surrealist orgy. Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal – roped in to announce which architect had won the jelly mould competition – quivered at more than one of the gelatinous buildings. Alas I was shocked to hear that promises made by Bompas and friends that the public would be invited to tuck in to such treats as Norman Foster’s Millennium Bridge turned out to be false – all the “jelly” buildings were made from paint. For shame!

Five cheers

Five cheers

No, this isn’t staff from Miller Construction struggling to make ends meet as a result of the credit crunch, or an attempt to spice up the outfit of the working contractor (handy as those fetching pom-poms would be). It is in fact the result of a deal between the Edinburgh-based company and North Leamington School campus, which the contractor is currently building. Miller has provided the uniforms for The Leam Gems Cheerleaders – apparently the models in the front didn’t make the grade.

Lofts loss

Poor old City Lofts has gone bust with at least two developments still coming out of the ground. We hear luck was kinder to Shepherd Construction, responsible for the developer’s St Paul’s scheme in Sheffield. A mole tells me the company received £2m worth of fees last week, just days before the administrators were called in. Good fortune – but it makes you wonder whether Shepherd’s payday was the bank transfer that pushed City Lofts over the edge …

Downstairs, upstairs

If you ever want a free hotel room upgrade here’s a tip. A Manchester-based guest at Cyril Sweett’s 80th birthday in London last week revealed that when he checked into his hotel he discovered his room was already occupied – by the maid and a porter making the most of the bed for a quick – er – lie down. While she was in a state of complete undress, he had had no time to remove his red blazer (complete with name badge) and porter’s cap. The guest informed the manager of his discovery and was immediately offered another room – the penthouse apartment. Now for a quick call to maid service …