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Contiguous Pretentious Development in a New Urbanist silk poncho

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MONDAY. An ‘indoors’ day. I finish my design for The Amazin’ Amazon Rainforest Experience just south of Blackpool. There’s been local scepticism from the start. ‘Why would people in Lancashire pay to see rainthemed anything? If the silly buggers are desperate to see rain INSIDE a building there are several shopping centres within driving distance, all built in the 1970s.

Can’t we just have a nice dry supercasino instead, with a karaoke bar?’ Etc. Idiots. They simply don’t
understand the principles of critical globalism.

The architectural establishment’s pissed off, too, because I’ve taken over the gig from Jacob Kinderegg. The world’s favourite cultured, jabbering death fetishist parted company with the clients when they refused to sign off on the concept drawings. They wanted an immersive environment suitable for school parties and coach outings. Jacob wanted to explore the mournful cadence of human suffering, with the entire contents of the biodome obliterated over the course of a year by ruthless loggers wearing Nazi regalia, two performances daily. The empty biohusk would remain as a public shrine to loss and absence.

I ring Jacob just to make sure there are no hard feelings. He’s cool. And busy. Just landed a Museum of Fatal Illnesses in Antwerp. His Potato Faminarium in Baltimore tops out next month. Plus, he’s now guest lecturing at the University of Kent on the fractal aesthetics of torture.

TUESDAY. To Lourdes, where I’m creating a boutique hotel. It’s 150 years since a local 14 year-old girl experienced visions of 280 separate saints, some robed in en-suite bathrooms. Now that dream is a reality.

My own contribution to the town’s tradition of five-star indulgence pushes innovation to new levels of luxury, or possibly the other way round. The spa’s got a Vaticanapproved infinity pool. Each room has a 50- inch ectoplasma TV, wi-fi access to purgatory, and there’s underfloor healing throughout.

WEDNESDAY. My friend Dusty Penhaligon the conservactionist calls to cancel our cycling tour of Cumbernauld. He’s appearing as expert witness in a high-profile case at the Old Bailey. Six criminal Cockney types are accused of stealing a priceless Adolf Loos building from a suburban street in
Zurich. In a daring armed raid, the seminal Montessori House of 1911 was snatched from its site over the course of a fortnight by a gang posing as international building inspectors.

Very little has been recovered. A couple of window frames, some floorboards, a ‘novelty Negro cigarette dispenser’. Police believe most of the house has been reassembled as a villa in northern Cyprus, which doesn’t acknowledge architectural extradition protocol.

Dusty is rightly alarmed at the recent spate of building heists. This year alone we have lost a Le Corbusier gymnasium from Chandigarh (brutally dismantled and resold in pieces on eBay), a Frank Lloyd Wright pharmacy in Michigan (loaded in sections onto a flatbed truck by ‘bug exterminators’) and a unique 19th Century Parisian absinthe kiosk by Viollet-le-Duc (wrenched from the ground in an audacious daylight helicopter raid).

I agree with Dusty. The world made more sense in the 20th Century, before Post- Modern yuppies and the internet ruined everything. When people didn’t lock their historic buildings. When St Petersburg was called Leningrad and didn’t have a Malaysian skyline. When you could smoke in church. When… oh, he’s hung up.

THURSDAY. Redesign Vancouver, making it less ‘Vancouverised’.

FRIDAY. I’ve set aside the whole day for CPD, or Contiguous Pretentious Development.

I put on Radio 3, adjust my cravat and start sketching. They’re not just sketches, obviously, they’re an unfurling of sequential insights into the world around me. Today I’m using my favourite insight-enabling tool, Ixworth & Donningfold’s Traditional Draughting Pencil for Gentlemen. Lovely. Especially thick and black. I’m sketching on baking paper, too, for extra gravitas. The morning passes in a delirium of abstract geometry and intuition. What do these sketches represent? The question is aspointless as it is impudent. Let posterity decide what they mean!
After lunch, urban collage-making in a collarless blouson.

SATURDAY. Five-a-side sociological football. Driveable Suburbanism 2 Walkable Urbanism 1, after an extra-time sudden-death runover.

SUNDAY. Work on my Lourdes project in the recliner. After a while, have an ‘out-ofbody’ axonometric experience.

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