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Astragal: Nothing's too big for BIG to handle

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Architect impresses with show of strength, George Ferguson’s trousers up for auction, and guerilla tactics for dressing to impress

It was fireworks from the off at this year’s World Architecture Festival, held in Singapore. Hours after it opened its doors, Archigram founder Peter Cook took a swipe at the ‘boring boring’ redevelopment of London’s King’s Cross.

Cook called the regeneration scheme ‘really dour’ and said he was embarrassed by the whole, dull project.

However, accusations of dreariness could never be fired at the Danish mavericks from BIG who were also at the festival.

Picking up the Future Project of the Year gong for the firm’s twisting Vancouver House tower, BIG’s Kai-Uwe Bergmann took to the stage and in a triumphant outburst lifted the giant yellow W-shaped podium.

Unfortunately for Bergmann the massive letter was heavier than he expected. But, having started, he was determined to continue with his weight-lift, visibly straining to get it to head height.

Moments later it crashed - a body slam to the floor. A double WAF/WWF winner.

Ferguson slacks off

George Ferguson

George Ferguson

A signed pair of Bristol mayor George Ferguson’s red trousers were put up for sale on auction site eBay last week.

The seller has pledged to give all the money raised to help bring solar power to the refugees stranded in Calais.

Prospective buyers were understandably intrigued by this rare ‘chance to own an iconic piece of Bristol heritage’.

One asked: ‘Are these trousers soiled? And if so how soiled - lightly, heavily or well and truly? The response: ‘[They are] clean and good looking, like Bristol.’

The bidding has currently reached £51.

McCloud’s technique for keeping schtum

We needn’t be worried about the winner of the RIBA House of the Year being revealed ahead of its official announcement. Introducing a preview of the first in the Grand Designs series, presenter Kevin McCloud tried to act as if had forgotten which house had won.

‘I get around the process of privy secrets by forgetting everything,’ he explained.

The presenter also said shooting the films was like doing everything in reverse order from his normal show, as he got to look around finished houses rather than building sites.

‘I could wear my posh jackets and I didn’t have to stand around in muddy fields,’ he said.

Guerrillas aren’t what they used to be


Winning over clients involves looking the part, delegates at an RIBA small practice conference heard this week.

Attendees of the Guerrilla Tactics event may have expected combat trousers and balaclavas to be the favoured attire, but perhaps disappointingly, something more conventional was recommended.

Ian Selby from the Lancashire Wildlife Trust advised not turning up for an interview wearing ‘skinny jeans, flowery shirts and cravats’, while former Peabody development director Claire Bennie told of how an unnamed architect recently alienated no less than Berkeley Homes by wearing unsuitable clobber.

Cycleway idea floated


The group behind plans for a floating cycle path down the Thames has launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay for a detailed feasibility study.

It wants to raise £175,000 to kick-start the £600 million Thames Deckway project, which it hopes to fund without delving into the public purse.

Masterminded by Future Systems co-founder David Nixon, the interconnected line of floating pontoons could stretch from Battersea to Canary Wharf.

The group hopes work on the scheme can begin in 2021, with it opening in June 2023.




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