Janet Street-Porter, who turned her back on studies at the AA in favour of a media career, is back under the design spotlight after becoming the new 'patron' of 'Architecture Week'.
She will be spokeswoman for the event from 5 to 14 November and spearhead the first-ever national poll on architecture to gauge its impact on people's surroundings. Digital voting booths will go up in Glasgow's Lighthouse, Tesco Metro in Manchester, Waterstone's in Piccadilly, Bristol's Galleries Shopping Centre and other locations.
More than 300 events will take place, including an 'on-line dinner party' with well-known architects thrashing out their views on design. The electronic debate is being held from 4 to 5pm on Thursday 11 and can be accessed from www.archweek.co.uk. The Arts Council, which is running the week with the riba, would not reveal who the big architecture names were for fear the dinner party would 'lose its element of surprise.'
Among several prominent buildings nearing completion that will open their doors for the first time during the week, is Alsop & Stormer's new c/Plex in West Bromwich. Architects from the practice will give lectures and seminars on the design, with gallery, shops, auditorium and cafes. Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners will guide visitors round its revamped Paddington Station. Visitors will also be able to cast their eyes over Marsh & Grochowski Architects' work on the late Peter Moro's Nottingham Playhouse.
The week will also play host to lectures by Tony Fretton, Zaha Hadid and Chris Wilkinson. Designers who advise homeowners on improvements for a fee of £10, last year raised £17,000 for homeless charity Shelter. For more details: 0171 307 3630.
Westminster City Council has picked two winners to its competition to design contemporary street furniture, and hopes to have both on the streets by next summer. They are by Peter Fink working with Igor Marko (left) and by Pearson Lloyd Design Partnership (Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd). The designs will go to the council members for consideration at their next meeting at the end of this month. They are on display at the Architecture Foundation until Wednesday 15 September.