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Astragal: How to date buildings

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Architecture goes viral 😵😵😵

Well done to @brycoo (aka Yellow Car Punch – remember that bruise-inducing back seat game?) A photo of the book, How to Date Buildings, taken in a Kent garden centre and posted on Twitter with the gag ‘For when Tinder doesn’t work’ sent the online punsters into overdrive. For those interested, the ‘easy reference guide’ to help age the nation’s building stock, written by Trevor Yorke and published in March 2017 by Countryside Books, can be snapped up on Amazon for £4.95. Evidently, a cheap night in.  

Ed Sheeran encounters hitch in getting hitched

With hits including ‘Lego House’ and ‘Castle on the Hill’, it is clear pop star Ed Sheeran has at least a passing interest in the built environment.

Early this year it emerged Sheeran had enrolled Donald Insall Associates to draw up plans for a Saxon-style chapel on his estate in Dennington, Suffolk. The 27-year-old multi-millionaire had hoped to wed his fiancée, Cherry Seaborn, in the chapel, which featured a stone-clad round tower.

In his application, the Sheeran design team said the chapel was justified because: ‘It is every person’s right to be able to have a place of retreat for contemplation and prayer, for religious observance, celebration of key life and family milestones, marriages, christenings and so forth.’

But the locals did not think the scheme was, er, ‘Perfect’ by any means. Suffolk Coastal District Council refused the application, claiming it would cause ‘unsatisfactory visual impacts’ and create ‘the impression of a second village church’.

Donald insall ed sheeran

Donald insall ed sheeran

Look out, Preston Bus Station

Hats off to ACME for obtaining a global architectural ‘bronze’ for one of its schemes in Leeds. It was no mean feat against a high-quality and varied international field. The award? That will be the prestigious World’s Coolest Car Park.

ACME’s fin-skinned multi-storey masterpiece, completed in 2016 as part of its £165 million Victoria Gate shopping centre, came third, receiving 11.4 per cent of an online vote. The outright victor in the contest, organised by airport parking site Looking4.com, was Parking Quick Morelli – a car park in a cave in Naples, designed by Guernsey-based Kingdom Architects and Planners.

Multi Storey Car Park at Dusk Acme VictoriaGate 010

Multi Storey Car Park at Dusk Acme VictoriaGate 010

No accountability in Garden Bridge accounting

The big question still hanging over Thomas Heatherwick’s collapsed Garden Bridge project is how almost £50 million of public money could have been spent, given that construction never even began.

The charity which developed the project, the Garden Bridge Trust, recently published (long overdue) accounts but these shed no light on the matter, although they did reveal that the Trust expects to wind up by mid-August and will publish a ‘closing statement’ at that point.

One might expect this to be a perfunctory document that still leaves taxpayers in the dark over where their money has gone, but London mayor Sadiq Khan has now confirmed this will not do. During Mayor’s Question Time last week, Khan said he expects a ‘line-by-line account’ of how the Trust spent tens of millions of pounds of public cash. This is, after all, what the Trust’s chair, Mervyn Davies, promised the mayor in a letter last summer when the vastly expensive proposal came crashing down. 

Envy for Pollard Thomas Edwards

The Women in Architecture summer drinks took place canal-side at Pollard Thomas Edwards’ office, where WIA partner employees from Zaha’s, Foster’s, Chipperfield’s and more hobnobbed with high-profile architects including Rachel Haugh, co-founder of SimpsonHaugh, and Teresa Borsuk, senior partner at PTE. 

The party served up street food and alcoholic ice cream in the lagoon-like courtyard. Yet it was not the company, but PTE’s office which turned one architect’s head. ‘Oh my god, they actually go home,’ she said, peering into the deserted office at 7:30pm. ‘Do you think they’re recruiting?’ 


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