O’Rourke junior closes in on his old man’s job, a muscular architect dreams of forbidden love with a lady lawyer and a contractor turns its site office into an art gallery

Farrell’s dome

Some would argue that Sir Terry Farrell has never known quite how to brand himself and his work, but that all changed this week. The great man was unveiling the latest stage of his plans for the Thames Gateway at an event in the City, and all was going well until he and his accomplices took the stage to answer questions. Farrell was curious about a cluster of people in the middle of the room who developed the giggles for no apparent reason. Taking pity on the architect, someone pointed out to him that he had sat in front of the screen – and had managed to position himself so that the word “visionary” was emblazoned directly across his forehead. Talk about self-promotion …

The O’Rourke lad

I hear that a few eyebrows have been raised at Laing O’Rourke after the rapid promotion of Cathal O’Rourke, the son of Ray. He had been working as a section manager on the Heathrow Terminal 5 site until recently when he was made an operations director. Could it be that Cathal is being groomed to eventually take over if Ray ever decides to call it a day?

Making the most of your retirement

If any of your colleagues make excuses about being overworked, just point them to the example of James Nisbet, the 86-year-old QS who was one of the 40 inductees to Building’s Hall of Fame last month. Apparently, if any partners at the firm he founded are a bit overstretched he pops on a train to London and does the work for them. Now that’s dedication.

Committed to canvas

Committed to canvas

Builders working for Wellingborough council on a leisure centre development have found themselves the unlikely muse of a budding watercolourist living opposite. The elderly gentleman has been documenting the project’s progress and has presented the contractors with a dozen landscapes of the site, now displayed on the walls of the site office. Critics of the show believe the highlight to be a raw emotional rendering of an angry builder kicking his cement mixer. Artists can find beauty in the strangest places.

  • Take a look at the work of the Wellingborough Whistler at www.building.co.uk/wellingborough
  • Illustration by Scott Garrett

    Canapés and catsuits

    Aukett Fitzroy Robinson’s summer bash in Regent’s Park last Tuesday won my award for the most delicious canapés – and the most unnerving entertainment. Young girls in sparkly lilac catsuits, masks and ribbons, peered cavorted among the guests in an attempt to distract them from overly serious conversations. It was certainty effective, but I fear they many guests were so distracted that they were unable to hold any conversations at all ...

    Love in the legal pages

    It would seem the recent makeover to our legal columns is a hit with readers. Following the first publication of Building in its new format last month Helen Garthwaite, a partner at Taylor Wessing, received enthusiastic praise from an admiring architect. His breathless letter explained that her new portrait was so captivating he was unable to concentrate on her article. He went on to describe his admiration for dark, eloquent women (particularly those in the legal profession), and elaborated on his single status, muscular torso and powerful motorbike – a photo was helpfully attached. Perhaps a lonely-hearts column would be a popular addition to the new-look legal pages?