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Award group

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There was an impressive turnout, especially on a Friday evening, for the launch of the Prime Minister's Better Public Building Award, which took place on the seventh floor of Tate Modern, courtesy of Sir Nicholas Serota, who announced the nominations.

Other speakers were Sir Stuart Lipton, on ebullient form and full of praise for the Treasury (Lipton is their landlord! ), the leatherbooted culture minister Baroness Blackstone, and Lord Falconer, who has retained his role as chairman of the ministerial architectural champions group despite moving to the Home Office. Charlie had a go at the architecture of the Home Office building (provided courtesy of Sir Basil Spence), and looked forward to the move to the replacement designed by Sir Terry Farrell for Marsham Street. Among the guests, I noticed Lord Howie of Troon , who as an engineer pretended to be shocked by the omission of any reference to engineers in the announcement of the shortlist; David Lunts, one-time Prince's Foundation chief executive but now responsible for urban regeneration, working for John Prescott; man-aboutconstruction Alan Crane; and a host of mandarins including Peter Gershon of the Office of Government Commerce, who won praise from Lipton for his support on long-term value-versus-initial cost arguments. Food and drink were in abundance and we staggered into the pouring rain vowing to do this more often.

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