A highlight of last week’s AJ Architecture Awards was the splendid performance by host Dara Ó Briain. The comedian shared his own recent personal experience of the construction industry with an architect-led project for his own house
Having related familiar tales of disruption, he recalled the day the builders were finally gone from their house. They would never see them again.
‘But we will,’ Dara told his wife. ‘They’ll be back for the snagging.’
‘There’s no such thing as snagging,’ she solemnly told him. ‘It’s just something builders tell you so that you don’t miss them.’
Despite Ben Derbyshire pledging to make the RIBA more transparent when he was campaigning to be its president, it appeared to be opaque business as usual at last week’s RIBA Council meeting.
Of the 17 sessions that took place, the AJ was only allowed to observe nine of them. And even during those, Derbyshire was quick to step in and stop members from speaking whenever they strayed into ‘confidential’ matters.
In an email sent to the AJ with the agenda prior to the meeting, an RIBA press officer even told the AJ: ‘Sorry, lots of business is confidential, so probably not worth your while coming.’
Double-decker of shame
Garden bridge bus
Artist and film-maker Richard Miller claims to have seen this catchy slogan on a bus this week – a reference to Margaret Hodge apologising to the House of Commons for using £2.97 of parliamentary stationery for her mayor-of-London-commissioned report on the Garden Bridge.
The bus pictured is one of those designed by Thomas Heatherwick – a commission for former mayor Boris Johnson that did at least manage to reach fruition.
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Leading practices including Foster + Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects have joined a project to produce a city made entirely from gingerbread for the Museum of Architecture in west London.
The Gingerbread City, now in its second year, seeks to engage the public with architecture in a ‘playful and unusual way’, and will see firms creating imaginary metropolises based on a masterplan developed by Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design.
Other practices getting in on the action this year are Carl Turner Architects, Ian Ritchie Architects, Mae, Maccreanor Lavington, Featherstone Young and RCKa.
Museum of Architecture director Melissa Woolford said: ‘We want to inspire people to care about how their city is taking shape and what impact the built environment has on the way they live.’
Each architect will choose a building type such as a museum, town hall, bridge, school, stadium or housing – and will then bake their design.
There will be three prizes for the best designs, two chosen by an ‘expert committee’ and one by the public vote. Crumbs!
Greener buildings on parade
This year’s Lord Mayor’s show, the annual parade of floats through the City of London, featured some of the capital’s favourite buildings worn as masks on the faces of 25 volunteers.
Open City, the charity behind the annual Open House London event, celebrated its 25th anniversary by joining forces with architect Graeme Nicholls and his team to create the masks.
The choice of buildings was based on a public vote of favourite buildings featured in Open House. Among those depicted by the 25 green-hued creations were the Gherkin, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Royal Festival Hall.
The resulting 2D icons will now feature on Open City’s printed products, website and t-shirts.
Could that be Adjaye’s portrait?
Could David Adjaye be about to land yet another, nationally significant project? The architect behind the competition-winning National Holocaust Memorial proposal is understood to be on the shortlist for the £35.5 million expansion of the National Portrait Gallery in London’s West End.
However, he faces stiff competition. According to sources, Adjaye is up against OMA, Farshid Moussavi, 6a, Caruso St John, Jamie Fobert – possibly with Purcell – as well as Haworth Tompkins which worked on the early feasibility study.
Hopefully whoever wins won’t be subject to the destructive tongue-lashing Prince Charles gave in 1984 to ABK’s proposed (and never-built) addition to the neighbouring National Gallery.
Sam jacob scarf crop
Tudorbethan T-shirts were all the talk among Architectural fashionistas back in August, but as the weather turns frosty there’s a new addition to our selection of building-inspired attire: the insulation scarf.
Designed by former FAT director Sam Jacob, the scarf appropriates the universal symbol for insulation into this trendy piece of actual human insulation.
It is the latest in a range of architecturally themed products available at Jacob’s online shop.
‘They are all part of an ongoing project that explores the relationship between drawings, objects and buildings,’ Jacob explains. ‘They come from the idea that architecture is part of life as much as life is part of architecture.’