In the papers today: 10.01.08
The financial pages are doing their best to encourage a housing recession, and the Daily Telegraph publishes one of the most convincing statistics so far, showing six major housebuilders' haemorraging share prices (Barratt down 74 per cent from a 12-month high, Taylor Wimpey 69 per cent, Persimmon 56 per cent).
Taylor Wimpey is so concerned about it that it has decided to pay suppliers less money, writing a letter to subcontractors that says: 'We are introducing a 5 per cent reduction in price on all outstanding orders as well as all future orders placed after 2 January'. This story appeared in The Times, but originated in Construction News, who reported one disgruntled subbie grumbling: 'I don't remember getting a letter when the market was booming saying: "Here, we're doing so well we're going to increase your rates."' What does this mean for architects? Not much if you own a house in London. The Evening Standard publishes a big pink and red map showing continuing astonishing house price inflation in the capital.
In landscape news, Baca Architects has proposed a £20 million wave machine in a disused dock in East London, for surfers too lazy to drive to the South West, reports former AJ staffer Rob Booth in the Guardian. Meanwhile in the real South West, the beaches are disappearing. The Times reports that poor little Dawlish Warren, a former Mecca for the bucket-and-spade brigade, has lost its sand due to soil erosion and rotting groynes. To make matters worse, the golden sands are washing up in neighbouring Exmouth, a competing beach resort.
Finally, be careful to follow the Disability Discrimination Act to the letter, or face an undercover investigation from a worthy newspaper. The Guardian sent cerebral palsy sufferer Nick Bishop to 10 London restaurants and found them wanting. Herzog & de Meuron's Tate Modern restaurant didn't come off badly, but Allies and Morrison's refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall took some stick. 'Not only did the outside lift not work... but the lift inside the building was too small for my wheelchair. All this is particularly ironic given the RFH recently underwent a mult-million-pound refurbishment,' Bishop reports.