A few issues ago I was going to celebrate this column's birthday. I did not because I knew you would all send in celebratory cakes. I am against the idea.
Some months ago, following an uncharacteristically kindly comment on a local website, the designer sent me some cookies. I learned this weeks later when I visited the AJ office. The wretched staff had opened the box and munched the lot - and then decided not to tell me on the grounds that they wanted this column to remain squeaky clean.
Anyway, here is a new site - sef architects is now on the web at www. sefarchitects. co. uk. Designed by Hoop Associates, apparently, it is pretty much what such a site should be - elegant, simple to navigate, and fast (at least I think so because at the time I only had a fast ADSL modem installed). You can alter type size - full marks there - and there is not too much content. You log off with the general impression that here is a bunch of guys who will do the business.
There is an interesting feature: when you click on one of the seven images across the home page, up pops a detached box with more details. Kind of neat, because it keeps you at the home page.
Like most sites, it has more words than are strictly necessary - and it seems that sometimes the layout has thereby suffered. Sliders have had to be introduced because nobody did an editing job - or because somebody could not bear to see their golden phrases cut.
We print hacks manage to write to length - why not website writers?
And like most architectural sites it has a mission statement. Sometimes it is under a button headed 'philosophy'. Or, as here, 'approach'. I know, and you know, why architects feel they have to do this. The trouble is that in trying to be all things to all possible clients you end up with the same boring old canting - 'on time', 'on budget', 'no preconceptions', 'sensitive', 'environment', 'flexible' and, here, 'tight-knit team'. 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, ' you hear the potential clients mutter.
No cookies please.