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Astragal: Rubbing shoulders with the cream of investigative journalism

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Off to the BAFTA headquarters in Piccadilly for the Paul Foot investigative journalism awards run by Private Eye magazine and named after the renowned journalist and political campaigner who died in 2004

Off to the BAFTA headquarters in Piccadilly for the Paul Foot investigative journalism awards run by Private Eye magazine and named after the renowned journalist and political campaigner who died in 2004.

The AJ’s Will Hurst (pictured above with Ian Hislop) was nominated for his investigation into the Garden Bridge, up against competitors from The Guardian, The Times and Greenpeace’s investigation unit among others. He spent the evening rubbing shoulders with the likes of journalist Simon Jenkins and Private Eye editor Ian Hislop.

Hislop – the host for the evening – told the audience that the £200 million Garden Bridge was effectively dead in the water and also reflected on other architectural matters, including Foot’s investigation of the 1968 Ronan Point tower block collapse, horribly relevant once again following the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Housing – or lack of it – was also the theme explored by the winner of the prize, Emma Youle of local newspaper group Archant for her investigation into Hackney’s enormous, but hidden, homeless problem published in the Hackney Gazette. Congratulations to her

Stephen Hodder super sub

Hodder subbed on

Hodder subbed on

The reaction to Stephen Hodder’s all new designs for Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville’s central Manchester skyscraper has, it seems, been largely positive. Certainly more so than the response to Make’s two previous disastrous efforts. 

Despite a change in colour, Make’s proposed ‘huge dark towers’ were widely derided, especially by heritage campaigners, and were officially abandoned by the footballers-turned-developers last month. 

Given he’d only had a fortnight to design the main tower element following Make’s decision to quit, Hodder will have been particularly pleased his concept escaped serious social-media bashing.

Some of the loudest support for the former RIBA president’s proposal came from an enthused Alan Vallance – the institute’s chief executive. He channelled his inner Alan Hansen, tweeting: ‘Neville’s newest signing @HodderPPRIBA makes game debut and scores blinding scissor-kick goal to seal the game in extra time #BeRIBA !! ‘ 

Others managed to reign in their enthusiasm about the change in design direction. Manchester-based academic Eamonn Caniffe replied: ‘It was a good result for the lads yesterday but it’s a little early to be so “over the moon”. More more like “avoiding the drop”…’ 

Wooden performance

Niall and peter clegg up a grid shell tower studio in the woods

Niall and peter clegg up a grid shell tower studio in the woods

Twice RIBA Stirling Prize-finalist Níall McLaughlin took architecture to new heights (ho ho) last weekend. The architect, best known for his careful, considered architecture was snapped scaling up a number of impressive timber structures built at this year’s Studio in the Woods – the students-meet-architects-to-do-stuff-with-wood weekender. 

McLaughlin was first spotted with FCBS founder Peter Clegg navigating his way up a 9m-tall gridshell structure (reminiscent of the Kobe Port tower) designed by a group led by Piers Taylor of Invisible Studio, Meredith Bowles of Mole Architects, former AJ architecture editor Laura Mark and Zoe Berman of Studio Berman. 

He was later spied at the top of a ladder constructed by a group headed by Fergus Feilden and Akos Juhasz to help them build a timber veil around a tree. 

The weekend in Taylor’s woodland on the outskirts of Bath featured five groups of students led by architects including AJ Small Projects Prize winner Kate Darby, Gianni Botsford, Erects’ Barbara Kaucky and Susannah Tusch, Architecture 00’s Lynton Pepper, Lee Ivett of Baxendale and Studio Weave’s Je Ahn, who all created structures from local timber.

 

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