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Astragal: Great British Bake Off’s architect contestant

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The Great British Bake Off has always provided interest to architects who enjoy the structural challenges of cake construction, but this year’s series, now on Channel 4, actually has a member of the profession as a contestant

Tom Hetherington of Richard Murphy Architects studied at the University of Dundee, an experience he believes will make him particularly resilient to the Bake Off process. ‘Thankfully I am good at taking criticism – as part of my degree course, you regularly had to stand up every week and be told what was right or wrong with your work,’ he told The Radio Times.

Making his debut last week, he produced a solid if undistinguished performance. Indeed, given a chance to demonstrate his visually creative flair in a round asking for an ‘illusion cake’ that resembled something else, he was disappointingly cautious. While others attempted a glazed terrarium and a bowl of ramen, our architect chose to concoct a ‘stack of books’ – though judge Prue Leith did say she loved the flavour. Tom will need to up his game if he is to make the final, though he is already attracting Twitter attention as the show’s eye-candy element.

Bridge’s demise spoils Hopkins’ ITV picture 

hopkins itv hq

hopkins itv hq

The Garden Bridge’s cancellation last month brought joy to its opponents – but unfortunately came too late for Hopkins Architects and its plans for a new headquarters for ITV by the Thames.

Planning documents submitted to Lambeth Council show that Heatherwick’s dream crossing formed a major part of its designs for the ITV hub; one of the new buildings even contains a central atrium, which ‘provides an opportunity on the north elevation to relate to the Garden Bridge’. 

ITV says its design team carried out ‘extensive consultation’ with the Garden Bridge Trust, adding ‘our plans were designed to work with or without the bridge in place, ensuring that our proposals contribute an enhancement to the public realm on the South Bank in either circumstance.’

Meanwhile Tory right-winger Norman Tebbit has come out, rather late, as a supporter of the bridge. Writing in The Telegraph – ostensibly to claim that Oswald Mosley and other fascists have more in common with the left than the right – he called the project ‘rather charming’ and ‘floral’ and hit out at Sadiq Khan and Labour for pulling the plug. ‘If only Boris had called it the London Garden Bridge Trust (or LGBT for short), Diane Abbott might have fought to the death to save it,’ Tebbit wrote charmingly. 

Follow in Trump’s footsteps

Coupar grange (2)

Coupar grange (2)

Do you yearn for the Donald Trump look? Would you like to emulate the US President’s Laird of the Manor act when in Scotland? If so, just the right country house has come onto the market. Coupar Grange House in Perthshire was designed by architect James Miller more than 100 years ago before he turned his attentions to the Turnberry Hotel in Ayrshire, bought by Trump in 2014. Selling agent Savills says the main property and coach house are ‘almost entirely in their original form’ and has placed Coupar Grange on the market for offers above £975,000 – the price of a nice flat in London.

BIG’s Lego adventure gets a little stranger

Big lego web

Big lego web

Meta architecture fans should brace themselves for meltdown next month when they can visit BIG’s Lego House in Denmark and purchase a Lego set allowing them to recreate the building back home.

The homegrown architect has designed the visitor attraction in Billund, Jutland, as 21 huge white ‘bricks’ crowned with an oversized Lego brick. 

To commemorate the opening of the building – and because Lego is never one to miss an open goal commercially speaking – a regular size Lego set will be sold exclusively within its walls, allowing fans to build a miniature version of the house themselves.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Long, long ago - in an age before virtual reality - Lego produced a special range for architects, enabling them to model their fantasies more realistically than possible with the standard stuff. Happy days.

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