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hellman

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'Mike Davies likes to think grandly: he refers to the Eiffel Tower. It is hard, in truth, to imagine that kind of monument at Greenwich. More likely the exhibition will be elegant in some places, embarrassing in others - like the national culture surrounding it. The sun will glance off the Dome, but the loos will block.' Andy Beckett. Guardian, 14.2.98

'In 1951 you rang up your buddy from the Royal Engineers. Now you've got to go out to tender.' Simon Jenkins on the complicated process of staging a national exhibition. Ibid

'The team get terribly demoralised. It gets quite hard to go to the office.' An unidentified employee of the New Millennium Experience Company. Ibid

'When the landscaping deviated from Meier's strict plan, he rounded up gardeners to uproot cacti and replant them in precise rows. His close friends were amused but not surprised. At his home they had already seen him compulsively realign silverware on his dining table and milk cartons in his refrigerator . . . 'I try to make it as precise as I can. You can't just throw seeds to the wind, ' he says.' From a profile of Richard Meier in The Economist, 7.2.98

'Apart from a comparatively minor fire, an overwhelming burden of debt, no prospect of profit until the Day of Judgement, and the absence of a fast rail link to London, the Channel Tunnel is, it seems, a rip-roaring success.' Brian Sewell. Evening Standard, 11.2.98

vital statistics

The human race shifts more rock, loam, sand and gravel each year than all the world's rivers, says US geologist Roger Hooke. He estimates that 24 billion tonnes are moved naturally each year, and 35 billion by man.

The price of the average UK funeral jumped from £540 in 1986 to more than £1000 in 1996, according to funeral consultant SCI. It predicts a figure of £2150 by 2006.

Lord Irvine, the Lord Chancellor, has authorised restoration work costing £650,000 to his official residence. It is estimated that £59,000 is being spent on wallpaper, and that £239,000 is being spent on household items, including two beds costing up to £10,000 each.

Private housing applications for January were up 4 per cent on January 1997, while starts were up 3 per cent at 12,050. But sales were down 17 per cent, says the National House-Building Council.

The number of unemployed people claiming benefit has fallen to below 1.4 million, the lowest level since 1980.

Most architectural employees in Ireland are better paid than their London counterparts, says a survey by Hays Montrose, the construction recruitment consultancy, and the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland.

Average salary for an architect with 10 years' experience is £30,500 compared with £27,885 in London.

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