Some of construction’s best and brightest battled it out at this year’s Building Quiz, writes Jordan Marshall. Photography by Wilde Fry
Who doesn’t love a pub quiz? If the Building Quiz - held by Turner & Townsend alinea and Fieldfisher in aid of charity PAPYRUS UK – is anything to go by the answer is certainly no one.
Held on 7 September at Fieldfisher’s central London office it is hard to imagine a better setting for a night of competitive quizzing.
With arrivals from 6pm those in attendance were blessed to make the most of London’s early spring heat wave, enjoying the views the of the Thames from the law firm’s ninth floor balcony with a drink in hand while soaking up the sun and rousing renditions of Hit me baby one more time, from the band The Super Tenors.
With the clock striking 6.30 teams made their way inside - ready for the first of eight regulation rounds covering a wide breadth of topics.
Hosted by Turner & Townsend alinea partner Steve Watts and Cecily Davis, construction and projects partner at Fieldfisher, teams’ knowledge and wits were pitted against one another not only in the regular quiz rounds, but also two marathon rounds and a construction challenge (see box).
Each team was looking to secure a total out of a possible 150 points.
- Multiflex - Multiplex
- Grey start your engines - Greystar
- ABSOLUTELY NOT! - Overbury
- De Vinci code breakers - Vinci
- Don’t eat the marshmellows - Fieldfisher
- Krollaboration - Kroll
- Dallas Cowboys - Lonestar
- T-Total - Turner & Townsend
- Ova easy - Arup
- Raacing our brains - Camargue
Round one saw the teams testing their culinary knowledge with 10 questions all about food and drink. While Greystar and Turner & Townsend both scored a 10 out of 10 it was perhaps one participant’s quick quip from one attendee that was the standout performer of the round. “What,” asked Watts. “Do Australians call the grape the French call syrah?” The response from the crowd? “It’s lager mate.” (For those playing at home the answer is shiraz).
Round two, which centred on transport and geography, saw the first joker cards, which double a team’s score for that round, played. To do this a member of each team was required to stand on their chair and hold their card up before the first question had been asked - something Davis said the quiz masters would be particularly strict on.
Rounds three and four, which were superbly hosted by Davis, involved questions that involved colour and a short-term memory test - all about events that had taken place in the past 18 months. It was also at this point that teams were required to hand in the first of their two marathon rounds - entitled Alphabet Soup.
At this point dinner was served, with the Super Tenors returning to the room for a sing-along version of A-ha’s Take on Me while the judges tallied up the scores. It was also the point where one of the most contentious points of the evening, with Davis returning to the microphone to update the leaderboard at halfway. While Lonestar’s Dallas Cowboys were leading the way, it was Fieldfisher, coming next to last that was the cause of the furore.
Having realised they had failed to hand in their marathon round sheet the team plead with Davis to accept their sheet. Davis told her Fieldfisher colleagues it would be up to the crowd to vote on whether the sheet would be allowed to be included. The resounding “no” was proof enough that the competitive spirit is alive and well in construction and meant Don’t eat the marshmellows was condemned to a zero for the round.
Some super (sweet) structures
Across the night teams were tasked with an ongoing project - build an impressive structure out of dried spaghetti and marshmallows.
Teams all took a different approach with a Ferris wheel, skyscrapers and everything in between crafted by the contestants.
Arup claimed the top points, leading to Watts suggesting: “Unsurprisingly it was the engineers who were the most enthusiastic builders.”
Vinci scored second spot, while Overbury rounded out the top three.
Explore some of the magnificent designs and constructions in the gallery below.
In the second half of the quiz many teams attention was divided between the questions at hand and the dry spaghetti-marshmallow construction challenge (see box).
Round five was one that favoured those who have a way with words. Entitled “Don’t quote me on that!” teams were asked to answer a series of questions featuring some of history and literatures most famous quotes. At the end of the round Greystar was still holding the lead, while Multiplex was still holding up the table.
Rounds six and seven flew by in a flurry of questions and construction - with games and sport and all things nature being the topics of exploration.
Heading into the final round of questions the second marathon round - a series of pictures of famous buildings from around the world - were collected as it was announced that Lonestar still held the lead.
The final round tested contestants’ knowledge of the built environment - including questions about the largest architecture practice in the world, as well as the winner of the Client of the Year at the 2022 Building Awards. If anyone wants to know the answers were Gensler and Muse, respectively.
With the results of the second marathon round and structure building competition revealed (and a few queries about answers and scores quashed) it was time to reveal the winners. After everything was said and done Lonestar was pipped at the post by De Vinci code breakers who stormed into first place.
Lonestar claimed second place, while Camargue rounded out the top three. At the other end of the table the missed marathon round cost Fieldfisher, meaning the law firm ended up in 10th place.
The night was part of wider efforts to support PAPYRUS UK - a charity for the prevention of young suicide - which have seen more than £250,000 raised. A huge thank you to everyone that has contributed.
- De Vinci code breakers - Vinci - 109 points
- Dallas Cowboys - Lonestar - 107 points
- Raacing our brains - Camargue - 105 points
- ABSOLUTELY NOT! - Overbury - 103 points
- T-Total - Turner & Townsend -102 points
- Grey start your engines - Greystar - 100 points
- Ova easy - Arup - 98 points
- Krollaboration - Kroll - 81 points
- Multiflex - Multiplex - 60 points
- Don’t eat the marshmellows - Fieldfisher - 57 points