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Astragal: Manchester alarmed by Alsop on stilts

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Only Will Alsop could kick up a firestorm from residents and councillors before he has even really done anything.

Last week the Manchester Evening News reported on ‘genuine proposals’ for a ‘bizarre raised structure’ in the city’s Great Northern Square by the architect (already known locally for his Chips block of flats).

One local politician described the building on stilts next to Peter Street as a ‘giant insect’. Another, councillor, Kevin Peel, told the newspaper: ‘We absolutely don’t support anything like this development for that site.’

However the image doing the rounds, it transpires, is nearly two years old. It was drawn up by Alsop as part of a contest run by Tobermory SARL, which owns the neighbouring Great Northern Warehouse, and development manager Trilogy.

A statement from Tobermory SARL explains: ‘The image is one of several conceptual designs submitted during an architectural competition we held in 2014, in which a number of different architecture practices took part.

‘We have not made a decision on any building design and will not start the detailed design process until the strategic regeneration framework has been agreed by Manchester City Council and we have consulted with stakeholders.’

Even so, given Alsop’s previous form with elevated buildings – such as the Sharp Centre for Design in Toronto – don’t rule out a stilt or two in the final blueprints.  

Weekend working upsets Maggie’s neighbours

2145 FP581590

2145 FP581590

Still in Manchester, it’s a wonder that Foster + PartnersMaggie’s Centre was ever finished. Just two weeks before the scheme was due to open, it was still very much a building site. The contractor even resorted to working weekends, which didn’t go down too well with the locals.

Residents complained about the noisy work going on at the site, and it was down to the project architect and Maggie’s to sweet-talk them. It’s hard to believe now the centre is open and photos show a calming oasis of green.

Architects tee-up at Trafalgar Square

Ordinary Architecture mini golf

Ordinary Architecture mini golf

Plans are afoot to transform Trafalgar Square into an architect-designed crazy golf course.

Set to take place during London Design Festival, the project is being curated by designer Paul Smith and could see the construction of an undulating golf course designed by the late Zaha Hadid. A kickstarter campaign is aiming to raise £120,000 to fund the project.

Other architects involved include Atelier Bow Wow, NEON, HAT Projects and Ordinary Architecture, which has designed its hole around a giant pigeon (pictured). 

Eyebrows raised over Garden Bridge auditor’s allegiance

Heatherwick Garden Bridge

Heatherwick Garden Bridge

Source: Arup

Transport for London’s attempts to draw a line under the Garden Bridge row have taken a turn for the worse after it emerged that its own external auditor is a supporter of the £175 million project.

Following the London Assembly’s highly critical report on the scheme’s procurement, Keith Williams, chair of TfL’s audit and assurance committee, announced in March that a new probe would be carried out by the external auditor, professional services giant Ernst & Young (EY).

Williams said EY would examine TfL’s much-criticised 2015 internal audit and ‘learn any lessons which might come from their review’.

However, it just so happens that not only does EY audit partner Julie Carlyle sit on the board of the Garden Bridge Trust but EY is itself a founding donor of the charity.

Some might see this as a conflict of interest, but TfL says it is confident the multinational firm will conduct a ‘thorough and independent’ review.

An EY spokesperson added: ‘The procurement took place before our appointment as external auditors to TfL and our involvement as donor to the Garden Bridge project.’

Nothing to see here, then.

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