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Astragal: BIG Bjarke, little Bjarke

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Want a piece of BIG founder Bjarke Ingels? OK, how big? This image doing the rounds on the Twittersphere last week shows accurately crafted small and medium versions of the archi-maverick – architecture’s very own dude-about-the-studio ‘Ken’. No, not Shuttleworth. That doll has yet to be released.

Build them up, knock them down

Leeds station southern entrance

Leeds station southern entrance

No sooner has it opened than Leeds Station’s new £20 million south entrance is under threat.

Insiders claim the golden, wimple-like structure is likely to be flattened under top-secret concept plans for a High Speed 2 (HS2) terminal in the city.

A new ‘preferred option’ released last November showed the multibillion rail link plugging into the south side of the existing station, creating a T-shaped mega-terminus.

On those plans the South Entrance, originally designed by Bauman Lyons but subsequently delivered by AHR, would be spared; as would the neighbouring ‘Blue’ apartment block by West and Machell.

However, sources reckon the latest as-yet-unseen layout obliterates both buildings to make way for new platforms.

But don’t panic just yet. HS2 isn’t set to arrive in the city for another 16 years. Phew. 

Orbit’s sliding attendance figures

The Orbit slide

The Orbit slide

It’s hard to imagine things could get much worse for London’s ArcelorMittal Orbit after it emerged the cost of bblur architecture’s stainless steel tunnel slide had more than tripled to £3.5 million.

Originally forecast to receive 1 million visitors and net £10 million in revenue every year, the Orbit’s annual head count has been closer to 120,000, with the viewing platform losing a spectacular £10,000 a week.

But on a recent visit to the £22.7 million landmark, an insider let slip that daily visits in reality rarely top 100 – which, if correct, adds up to a very meagre 36,500 punters a year. Once the saviour slide opens, even with every single visitor paying a hefty £17 to descend, attendance will need to rocket 1,500 per cent to meet the original revenue aspirations.

Heatherwick’s hands-on approach

Heatherwick tweet

Heatherwick tweet

One architect has noticed a certain consistency in Thomas Heatherwick’s pose of choice for photoshoots. But it turns out Heatherwick is not the only designer to favour this look.

A Tumblr blog, Designers Touching their Faces, has shots of, among others, Frank Lloyd Wright, David Chipperfield and Ron Arad. Its catchline reads: ‘If you’re a designer, you ain’t shit if you don’t touch your face.’


Red kecks till I die

George Ferguson

George Ferguson

George Ferguson

Bristol’s mayor and former RIBA president George Ferguson does like to promote his city around the world. Sadly though, he won’t be enjoying a trip to this month’s Mipim. He’s seeking a second term as mayor and, with May’s election fast approaching, a champagne-quaffing trip to the south of France is apparently deemed politically unwise.

In better news for George, there are signs that the damaged reputation of his sartorial quirk could be swiftly repaired. Declining sales in red trousers have apparently been so severe the garments have been ironically appropriated by the so-called hipster class, as articles in this week’s Country Life and Daily Telegraph attest.

Ferguson told Astragal this week that the news had passed him by. ‘I’m still wearing them but I don’t read Country Life or the Telegraph,’ he said tersely.

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