The summer season is truly upon us, providing an array of parties Astragal has been only too happy to enjoy. A splendid dinner at the Mansion House in the City of London marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of Sir John Soane, courtesy of the Soane Museum trustees, with a witty speech from Simon Jenkins (in his early career Soane 'resorted to the last desperate tactic of an architect on the make - he worked for the government'), and some sage observations from Richard MacCormac. Book launch of the season celebrated the Allford Hall Monaghan Morris tome, Manual, in a Derwent Valley building in Shoreditch High Street (splendid eats and drinks), followed by even more drinks at the El Paso bar, and then more at a venue so unsavoury that even Astragal had to beat a retreat. The City Corporation planning and transportation committee dinner was held this year at Michael Hopkins' Haberdashers Hall building;
interesting to see present Dr Francis Billand, a major figure with German investor Difa. He has been interviewing practices to design a tower in the City following the withdrawal of designs by Helmut Jahn.
Something good should emerge from all this. The Aluminium Imagination Awards was a cheery affair, not least because of a great cabaret by Barry Cryer ('If lsla St Clair had married Jimmy White, then divorced and married Bryan Ferry, she would have been the Isla White Ferry'). Astragal's latest summer treat was to go the British Grand Prix practice day, courtesy of Faram, interior furniture company extraordinaire. Several architects over-indulged in champagne and had much too jolly a time.