What’s the best thing about Preston? What’s your problem, Google? What goes well with panda? Which bit of Kanye West does he not understand? Why is Boris Johnson? Ian Martin questions the poses
ONE The Royal Institute for the Protection of British Architects surprised everyone in 2013. Firstly by STILL BEING THERE, secondly by widening eligibility for membership. Who may now join?
- Architectural jelly technicians
- Designers of interiors for doll’s houses
- Anyone with an Instagram account
TWO This year the Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann for their RETRO-CONTEMPORARY HIGH-DEFINITION REPURPOSING of a ruined castle. As usual, this was hailed as a watershed moment for architects. Why?
- Because of the STIRLING PRIZE, pay attention. Every single winner is a sodding ‘game-changer’. Every year. For a fortnight. OK, less this year because it wasn’t on the telly
- Because all half-baked fantasy schemes will now look elegantly understated
- Because of ‘Heritage Cyborg Chic’. That’ll be a thing soon. Watch this psychogeographical space
THREE Which of Preston’s many, many icons was finally listed in 2013 and praised for its STRUCTURAL INGENUITY?
- The Battered Mince And Tattie Pie
- The ‘Carry Owt’ waterproof ale bag
- The ‘Choonky Joonky’ heroin spoon
FOUR ‘Nothing looks as good as very high feels’ as someone sort of said but about something else, once. In 2013 our gawping admiration for tallness, however vulgar and disfiguring, remained undiminished. Can you remember what in February was found MIRACULOUSLY STILL ALIVE on the viewing platform at the top of the Shard?
- An unemployed person
- A baby panda en route (Pinochet Suite, 82nd floor) to a Shard Shareholders’ Exotic Bunga-Bunga Snuff Barbeque
- Late capitalism
FIVE The past year saw architect-artists struggle valiantly against the gross injustices and petty cultural prejudices of Still-Austerity Britain. A town in a Norwegian valley erected giant mirrors to pull much-needed sunlight into its gloomy little world and that was apparently BRILLIANT. Yet, when acclaimed architect-artist Rafael Viñoly presented a parabolic masterpiece that did EXACTLY THE SAME THING in a crespuscular corner of the City of London - catastrophe! Reflected sunlight was suddenly a ‘DEATH RAY’. At the time (late summer) the most significant aspect of the story was its sheer bloody tedium. We’ve moved on since then. What has been the worst CONSEQUENCE?
- It shone a light on the type of horrible wanker who might own a shop or a Jaguar in Eastcheap
- It encouraged a pop-up ‘solar pavilion’ full of gurgling hipster cockbuns wearing the sort of clothes you’d get at a UKIP jumble sale
- It enabled a shit nickname to be amended and made even worse. ‘Walkie Scorchie’. Really? Step forward whoever dreamed that up and get punched in your gormless stupid blubbery face
SIX The Architects’ Journal CAME OUT with a survey of lesbian, gay and bisexual architects. What was its chief finding?
- On site visits, only 16 per cent felt comfortable enough to be open about what they did for a living
- Orientation remains a problem, with many struggling to find north even with a compass
- Overwhelming professional hostility to civil engineering partnerships
SEVEN Now that actress and campaigner Joanna Lumley has decreed a ‘perfumed garden bridge’ across the Thames, what other EXCITING CELEBRITY PROJECT is about to get fast-tracked through planning?
- Mary Berry’s latticed skywalk
- Jeremy Clarkson’s gated racetrack
- Russell Brand’s elevated mind-circus
EIGHT Self-Googling search giant Google has postponed the design and construction of its new £4.5-googol headquarters in King’s Cross. WHY? WHAT’S THE PROBLEM, GOOGLE?
- ‘Still workshopping a totally awesome Google Doodle for it, dude’
- ‘Exploring alternative location for King’s Cross station to avoid an embarrassing land use overlap, dude’
- ‘There are no problems, only issues. All issues are resolvable.
A little more understanding from the authorities about our 100-ha, zero-gravity aerial paintballing court would be nice, asshole’
NINE The Mayor of London made many ENTIRELY WELCOME INTERVENTIONS throughout the year on the subject of the capital’s built environment. How did he most endear himself to architects?
- By praising the sort of scumbag billionaire psychopath who wants to plant his signature dildo among all the others now waggling bleakly in the traumatised London sky
- By quoting Vitruvius on the Today programme
- By always being on a fucking bike
TEN The government sought to raise our spirits by talking up a major >> national infrastructure project that sounded like an INVESTMENT LOTTERY POSTCODE, to be initiated only after the Tories have won the next general election. What was it?
- The HS2 high speed rail link, promising faster connections between departing ministers and European infrastructure providers looking for non-executive directors
- The LHR6 airport tetrahub, expanding Heathrow airport eastwards to join up with Schiphol via a PFI land bridge
- The SW1A ‘moral wormhole’, which would allow MPs and senior civil servants to exist in a parallel ethical world without having to leave Westminster
ELEVEN Overblown humourless hip-pop SHIT-FOR-BRAINS NARCISSIST Kanye West announced he wanted to ‘do architecture’ next. How?
- Doggy style
- With autotune-assisted design and sampled epic space, feat. MC Rem Koolhaas in weird pyjamas, futuristic sunglasses and
a different face
TWELVE What a great end to the year! Phase 1 of NEW STONEHENGE opens, just in time for the winter solstice.
Yeah, three decades of tribal wrangling, bitterness and bloodshed are finally at an end. It’s like Game of Thrones, but with a lot more paperwork. OK not ‘bloodshed’, but some of the key players are bound to have at least put on a bit of weight. Which new feature of the REBOOTED ANCIENT MYSTICAL VISITOR EXPERIENCE has proved most controversial?
- A development of neolithic buy-to-let holiday rentals just west of the A344
- An ‘immersive pagan shuttle’ running between the luxury interactive gallery and the windblown site itself, where packs of wolves and short hairy men with spears try to kill you
- Huge yellow Aviva ad painted on the Heelstone n