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REVIEW OF THE YEAR

JANUARY The year started with the news that the Tories were back in business? and this time they were interested in architecture.

Other big news saw a threat emerging to Grade II* listing and the ARB Reform Group making a big noise. Zaha retained an, ahem, diplomatic silence on being joined by Allies and Morrison on her Architecture Foundation scheme (right).

FEBRUARY Zaha again made it into the headlines, when it came to light that Olympics minister Tessa Jowell had sent an apology over remarks she'd made about 'cost hikes' on the Olympic Aquatic Centre. Foster revealed plans for a tower next to Seagram in New York, to surprising silence. SMC was sniffing about looking hungry (as usual). Oh, and Snøhetta and Spence's Turner Contemporary scheme in Margate went down the Swanee.

MARCH SMC's appetite was sated - and everyone else was gobsmacked - when it announced to the stock market that it had bought Alsop Architects. SMC Alsop was born.

Argent's vast King's Cross development won the green light from Camden Council and Viñoly submitted proposals for the 'walkie talkie tower' in London (right).

APRIL Veteran Brazilian Paulo Mendes da Rocha (left ) won the Pritzker Prize. Alain de Botton emerged as an architectural player through the publication of his bestseller, The Architecture of Happiness. And KPF's helter-skelter-ish DIFA Tower in the City of London won planning permission.

MAY May started sadly with news of the death of veteran North American urbanist Jane Jacobs.

BDP came top of the AJ100. But watch this space; it probably won't happen again for some time due to the expansionist plans of its competitors. This was illustrated when Capita surprised everyone by buying Ruddle Wilkinson. Tony Blair finally put Prezza out of his misery and removed his portfolio of planning powers. Oh, and the government tried to knock down the Commonwealth Institute.

JUNE Headlines screamed in June when Peter Phillips, a candidate for the RIBA presidency, was exposed as a member of the BNP. His election hopes were further dented when he was pictured next to a BNP activist called 'Pissy Dave'.

JULY Grimshaw's Bath Spa finally opened. Nobody seemed sure how late it was or how much time had been spent on it. But it was a lot. Alain de Botton said he was moving in to development; Herzog & de Meuron presented a contentious scheme to extend Tate Modern (right). Mayor Ken admitted his ambitions to extend his planning powers in London.

AUGUST The AJ revealed both plans by Olympic Delivery Agency to hold a competition for the Velodrome and the Stirling shortlist. Norman Foster received praise from across the pond when his Hearst Tower opened in Manhattan.

SEPTEMBER Ah, the Venice Biennale (left). What joy. What an event. What a bloody good party. Back home, SMC turned into the biggest practice in Scotland by buying three firms on the same day.

OCTOBER More good news for everyone's favourite Swiss grumps, Herzog & de Meuron, when it was announced they had won the 2006 RIBA Gold Medal. Peter Bishop won the race to the directorship of the new Design for London Quango. Richard Rogers won the Stirling Prize with Barajas airport (right) and promptly revealed plans for a name change.

Norman Foster was facing less cheerful news from NYC after his latest plans for the Upper East Side took a slating from locals.

NOVEMBER Unesco started throwing its weight around in Britain's World Heritage Sites and everyone got a bit scared, including Ruth Kelly who promptly killed off an Ian Simpson tower in Liverpool and called in Viñoly's walkie-talkie. Marco Goldschmied launched legals against Richard Rogers, who vented his anger on the ODA for its procurement strategy. In turn, the ODA then revealed more changes to Zaha's aquatic centre.

DECEMBER The AJ's website, www. ajplus. co. uk attracted a record number of visitors with the news that Renzo Piano was to build a new convent building next to Corb's Ronchamp.

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