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Astragal: Light-fingered Brutalism fans leave Cardross bereft

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Angus Farquhar, the creative director of NVA, which is overseeing the overhaul of St Peter’s Seminary, fascinated a packed AJ100 gathering in Glasgow as he talked about the painstaking but light-touch efforts being made to partially rehabilitate the Modernist icon

The charity is working with architects McGinlay Bell and Avanti on the project to breathe new life into Gillespie Kidd & Coia’s 1966 celebrated concrete landmark (pictured) in Cardross, turning it into an intentional ruin and a major public arts venue.

The £10 million project has so far taken 10 years, and the recent stage of work saw hundreds of tonnes of detritus and asbestos removed from the building to reveal its ‘purely skeletal form [and the] sheer beauty of the design’.

During the clearance, some of the more architecturally interesting and crafted items (such as some window frames) were removed and stored on site.But now it seems a load of these have gone missing, presumably snaffled up by treasure hunters hoping to get a souvenir from Isi Metzstein and Andy MacMillan’s Category A-listed masterpiece.

A pragmatic Farquhar wondered if an architectural ‘amnesty’ would result in any of the pieces being returned.

So come on all you Brutalist bandits. You know who you are. Here is your chance to repent for your arch-villainy.  

Revolving doors at Farrells

Dorma All Glass Revolving Door Makes Stunning Entrance

Dorma All Glass Revolving Door Makes Stunning Entrance

What is going on at Farrells? Last month Terry Farrell’s practice proudly announced it had hired a new design partner and two associate partners.

The three senior architects, who all came with impressive pedigrees, were paraded in the press.

There was incoming design partner Effie Kuan from Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios; transport specialist Chris Crombie from Grimshaw; and US architect Michael Faulkner from PLP. 

However the AJ learns that both Crombie, who was working on Farrell’s Euston station bid alongside KPF and Argent, and Faulkner have both already departed.

The practice insists they left for unrelated reasons and wishes them both well. Even so, their departures seem remarkably hasty.  

Clangers make for a happier office

Several clangers

Several clangers

To the British Council for Offices’ annual awards, where Astragal spent a most enjoyable evening and learnt that it’s time for BREEAM to move over, ‘cos the CLANGERS are coming. 

For those new to comedian and host Dr Phil Hammond’s Health Revolution message, it stands for: Connect, Learn, be Active, Notice, Give Back, Eat Well, Relax and Sleep. If office buildings took these into account, we’d all be a lot happier. 

Also during the evening, the AJ’s very own Paul Finch picked up the 2017 President’s Award at the Grosvenor House event. BCO president Ken Shuttleworth gave a very warm tribute to Paul, and the AJ’s editorial director delivered an acceptance speech in his trademark style, getting a Frank Zappa line in there and quoting Fleetwood Mac for good measure. In Latin. Congratulations, Paul!

Once bitten …

Garden bridge  winter

Garden bridge winter

Transport for London commissioner Mike Brown had a hard time justifying his £350,000 salary last week while being grilled by the London Assembly over his role in the Garden Bridge debacle. 

With Oversight Committee chairman Len Duvall raising the possibility of illegal misconduct on the part of TfL officers, much of the session on 11 October was anything but funny. 

Prior to Duvall dropping his bombshell, though, Brown did raise a few laughs by reflecting dryly – presumably partly with the benefit of hindsight – on how little he liked the Garden Bridge. Asked about the idea of a charity like the Garden Bridge Trust delivering a transport project in the future, he replied: ‘I would not like to enter into this sort of arrangement ever again.’

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