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Astragal: EPR celebrates key role in Royal Wedding

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Not even architects are immune to Royal Wedding fever

In the run-up to the big event, EPR sent out a jolly press release wishing ‘Megan and Harry all the best on their big day’.

But might there be another reason for firm bringing out the bunting? The well-wishers casually let slip that Prince Harry was spending his ‘last night as a singleton’ at Coworth Park (pictured), an Ascot hotel recently restored by the practice. 

It continued to tell how ‘sustainability was at the heart of our design’, how the hotel was an ideal escape from the paparazzi, and even offered the prince advice on where to find a wildflower meadow for a calming stroll to ‘soothe any pre-wedding jitters.’ 

Time to lose the ‘E’ from EPR?

Matt dillon architect

Matt dillon architect

Source: ifc films

Not another architect serial killer

As The Guardian said in 2011, Danish arthouse film director Lars Von Trier ‘is known for being unpredictable’ (as well as ‘quixotic, puckish and deliberately provocative’).

But there is nothing unpredictable in his choice of profession for a serial killer in his latest release – premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

Gore-fest The House That Jack Built features Matt Dillon as the killer, but Von Trier has slipped into the  increasingly commonplace convention: the architect as murderous master villain.

In the past year we’ve seen a Modernist architect killing folk in the ‘Crocodile’ episode of Black Mirror; read about a creepy architect in JP Delaney’s novel The Girl Before; and watched the homicidal tendencies of another in BBC1’s The Replacement.

Here’s hoping this cliché won’t be repeated in the forthcoming remake of Mary Poppins.

‘What’s that, children? Where’s Bert the friendly chimney sweep? Oh, he was bumped off by the architect remodelling your banker father’s house …’

Arup drops its ‘Associates’

Snape maltings 1975

Snape maltings 1975

Source: Charles01

Only the eagle-eyed would have spotted the news about the end of the Arup Associates name. Earlier this month the architectural division was effectively swallowed up by the multidisciplinary mothership and simply rebranded ‘Arup’.

Arup Associates remains best known for its concert hall at Snape Maltings (pictured) – which the practice effectively built twice after the first building was burned down in 1967 - and its masterplan for the Broadgate office complex in the City of London under Peter Foggo.

Arup’s architectural arm was founded 55 years ago – an offspring of Ove Arup’s ‘Total Design’ mantra; architects and engineers ‘working together seamlessly to design structures’.

One-time Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios partner Jo Wright, who is now group leader for architecture at Arup said the move would help the company’s architect workforce ‘scale up … beyond the UK where we are primarily known.’

She added: ‘The principles of Total Design were revolutionary in their day. But today we are seeing clients around the world calling on this joined-up approach to projects.

‘Innovations such as artificial intelligence mean that it is more important than ever for architects and engineers to come together under one roof to deliver beautifully simple, integrated designs.’

So that’s it – a name disappears and becomes an almost identical new one. Save for a press release and a tweet, would anybody have noticed?

Spot the Royal Academy fake 

180319 johnnie shand kydd ra group rt 166

180319 johnnie shand kydd ra group rt 166

Source: © Johnnie Shand Kydd

Can you spot the architect who was so keen not to miss out on being snapped with all the big-name Royal Academicians assembled for the opening of David Chipperfield’s £56 million revamp that he sent a printed picture of himself?

Clue: Best known for the Spire in Dublin and his RSC theatre projects, his cardboard cut-out is close to the real Thomas Heatherwick and is being held up by painter Vanessa Jackson. Click for answer

PM loves Heatherwick for his mind 

1st Thomas Heatherwick

1st Thomas Heatherwick

Speaking of Heatherwick, his role in the Garden Bridge may have limited his popularity with some London politicians, but he was nevertheless among the ‘great minds’ attending a reception for the creative industries at 10 Downing Street earlier this month.

Prime minister Theresa May told her guests: ‘While our films captivate audiences the world over, our fashion designers surprise and delight, our architects are shaping skylines and cityscapes on every continent.’

May probably did not do quite enough to reassure them that their industries won’t be decimated by Brexit, saying only that ‘as we leave the European Union, we will continue to work with our European friends to protect cultural heritage and promote cultural diversity.’

Sheffield handle scandal  

Jessop west crop

Jessop west crop

Tensions are boiling over among academics working in Sheffield University’s 2009 Jessop West building (pictured), designed by RMJM and Sauerbruch Hutton

Just as the sun has made a reappearance, staff have arrived at their desks to find the handles of their closed windows removed. 

The university’s estates department tells Astragal that a ‘design flaw’ with the windows has prompted the extreme action, and that a subcontractor is working to resolve the situation as soon as possible.

Despite the university supplying pedestal fans, some academics have taken to Twitter to voice their displeasure, using the hashtag #jwhandlescandal. 

One posted a photo of a poster bastardising a famous quote by Queen Elizabeth I: ‘I have no desire to make windows into men’s souls (But if I did I’d make sure they had handles).’  


Royal Academy answer: Ian Ritchie 

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