A new age dawns with the advent of the Royal Institute for the Pop-Uption of British Architects
Ian Martin redesigns Liverpool and Battersea
MONDAY. Reputation is important to me. I go out of my way to avoid the charge that I am ‘pandering to an artistic elite’, whatever that means.
My latest ‘vibrant arts-based community’ – a theatre created from smart-matrix CGI, gossamised platinum and spun gold; 1,000 serviced apartments with armed, handsome security staff; a six-star hotel with funicular space shuttle; approximately 280,000m² of tax-notional office and retail cash waiver, and a nightclub called Loco Bunga – is located on a modest island in Russia, for example.
TUESDAY. Redesign Liverpool with an inflatable waterfront development. This will give maximum flexibility in the future as it can either be puffed up to look more menacing than its historic neighbours, or floated away by sulky corporate windbags.
WENDESDAY. Lunch with my old friend Darcy Farquear’say, freelance architecture critic. I don’t think he’s ever been this scruffy or had stubble like that since the late 1980s. And for the first time I can remember there’s no Bauhau the dachshund. Darcy and his quivering overdressed muse have been inseparable for years. Alas now Bauhau’s riding a small dog popularity thermal thanks to Tin Tin and The Artist, Darcy rarely sees him – despite ghosting his popular architecture column in the Creative on Sunday.
‘He’s never home these days. I blame that bitch of an agent. She’s his Plus One now for all the swish dos, he’s staying over at her place a LOT…’ Darcy’s posture’s gone too. I ask him if he’d considered sabotaging Ground Zero, Bauhau’s weekly sideways canine look at the world of the built environment.
If Darcy started subtly changing Bauhau’s personality from yappy populist to gripey bastard… well, sooner or later he’d say something controversial and the liberal vigilantes of Twitter would demand his sacking. ‘Yes, I’m sick of this humiliation,’ says Darcy with resolve. ‘From now on, I’m going to be a totally different dachshund.’
THURSDAY. A brainstorming day. If I could just think of something clever to turn Battersea Power Station into, some crazy geezer in sunglasses might pay me to DO it.
The trick is to keep things exciting yet vague. I’m going for ‘iconic destination where visitors can shop, browse, gaze, graze, booze and go up the chimneys on a thrilling sky walk for £25’. Someone in Qatar will LOVE the sound of that, you watch.
FRIDAY. Huge day for the Royal Institute for the Protection of British Architects. Its ruling body on matters of moral destiny, the Noble and Most Ancient Council of Artful Contrivance and Brand Identity, has gathered to discuss a proposed change of name.
RIPBA president Molly Bismuth wants to replace the word ‘Protection’ with ‘Pop-Uption’.
Of course opponents claim that pop-uption isn’t strictly speaking a word and, furthermore, would expose members of the institute to ridicule and sharp banter in the workplace, especially on building sites. ‘May I see some credentials please?’ ‘Yes, here is my card. I am a member of the Royal Institute for the Pop-Uption of British Architects.’ ‘Please proceed, ha ha ha: pop-uption.’ The sniggering alone could fatally undermine the profession’s dignity.
But Ms Bismuth is adamant. ‘We are here today, gathered in our vestments of truth and honour, some in ceremonial hats and sparkling notions, to make the most momentous decision in our institute’s history. Should we remain fossilised, with our heads up our past? Or rather, should we grasp the new pop-up reality and look the future in the eye?’ Here she slaps a thigh, makes a ‘pop-up’ gesture and growls briefly.
After lunch, those eligible members still awake file in solemnly to vote. It’s a tie: two-all. There’s a short debate, then agreement that the change of name shall be observed until the standing-down of the incumbent president.
‘Hail, the Royal Institute for the Pop-Uption of British Architects!’ cries Ms Bismuth. ‘So say we all!’ answer the three remaining conscious members.
SATURDAY. Pop down the pub.
SUNDAY. Bauhau’s column in the Creative on Sunday is very bitter this week. ‘Hey, anybody here heard of Wang Shu? No? Well, he’s just won the Pritzker Prize. Really? What’s THAT, you ask? Yeah, welcome to the twilight world of architecture, where genuine talent is crushed and the merely fashionable is promoted and fawned over by witless giggling fannies…’
There are already over a thousand online comments, overwhelmingly positive. Poor Darcy. New Bauhau’s a hit.