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Astragal: The hidden talents of Stirling Prize winner Annalie Riches

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Regional news outlets are a treasure trove of planning battles, property gossip and, frankly, the occasional oddity. Yet an often unrecognised skill is the deftness of touch needed to spin a straightforward yarn into something to satisfy readers’ specific cravings

So how did York’s Minster FM website present the news that architect Annalie Riches of Stirling Prize-winning Mikhail Riches Architects was officially kicking off the 2020 York Design Award last week?

With the headline: ‘Former circus trapeze artist set to launch search for York’s best buildings.’ 

The piece explained that Riches had ‘studied architecture at the University of Sheffield, after which she joined the circus on the static trapeze for three months’ – a detail sadly absent from the architectural press’s Stirling Prize coverage last October. 

Sacked Mac tutor wins Sturgeon’s backing 

Gordon gibb and nicola sturgeon

Gordon gibb and nicola sturgeon

Fair play to Gordon Gibb. Sacked last month from the Glasgow School of Art after he criticised its board’s handling of the Mackintosh fires, he’s not going quietly. In true Glaswegian style he seems up for the fight. 

In a series of defiant Facebook posts he has hit back at the board and insisted he wants to return to his old job: director of professional studies at the architecture department. 

He’s even likened Muriel Gray, just returned as GSA chair, to Norma Desmond – the faded protagonist of Sunset Boulevard

Gibb appears to be winning friends in high places. His sacking and whistleblowing were raised in the Scottish Parliament by MSP Pauline McNeill at First Minister’s Questions recently. 

In response, Nicola Sturgeon offered her support and his right to be protected for speaking out. 

‘This outcome is incredible,’ Gibb posted to his followers. ‘For the students whose needs have been ignored, the school, whose reputation has been sullied, and for me.’

He thanks his supporters for supporting his campaign, adding: ‘Of course it is not over yet.’  

Minibus bump prompts social-media car crash 

Allies morrison crash crop

Allies morrison crash crop

The Twitterati went into overdrive last Friday when, according to social media, a minibus ploughed into Allies and Morrisons’ headquarters and was ‘embedded’ in its glass façade, fronting on to Southwark Street. 

An aerial photograph showed a street closed and emergency services at work. When Astragal made it down to the scene, however, a somewhat calmer picture emerged. 

Although a police cordon ran around the practice’s offices and neighbouring buildings, the structures appeared to be untouched and there was no sign of casualties. 

The minibus stood on the pavement with a dented front end but otherwise looked normal, while a mangled traffic light lay diagonally across the pavement. 

One architect told Astragal everyone in the office had temporarily been evacuated as a precaution. But Allies and Morrison said that no one had been harmed – and the building had not been damaged. 

A reminder to take your favourite social media platform with a large pinch of salt.

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