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Astragal: Which matinee idol has the BFI hired?

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Astragal was excited to learn that German architect and former OMA director Ole Scheeren (above left) is set to build his first UK scheme, a new HQ for the British Film Institute on London’s South Bank. 

But seeing Scheeren’s photograph prompted a niggling sense of familiarity. Perhaps for its opening night the BFI could screen Sacha Baron Cohen’s feature film Brüno to help jog our memories. 

Breaking out of the family business

Sebastian marroquín

It’s not unusual to learn that an up-and-coming architect is following in a parent’s footsteps, so it’s always refreshing to hear of someone entering the profession from a unrelated family background, helping inject new insights into the architectural gene pool.

It is, therefore, with delight that Astragal learnt that Sebastián Marroquín, who has been employed by Argentinian practice Box Arquitectura since 2005, is the son of none other than Pablo Escobar, the late Columbian drug lord who at his peak was believed to be supplying 80 per cent of the cocaine smuggled into the United States.

Escobar’s life was recently the subject of the Netflix TV drama Narcos. The fact that Marroquín changed his name at the outset of his career suggests he is hoping for a bit less publicity. 

Hello, I must be going

Tamsyn mclean crop

In the week the AJ uncovered Zaha Hadid’s will, further news emerged about a change of senior staff at the practice she founded.

Less than a year after arriving, ZHA’s first ever legal chief, Tamsyn McLean, has quit the company to join contractor Bouygues. She has already been replaced by Mike Newton from solicitor Eversheds.

The switch comes amid speculation over the practice’s future direction after its principal Patrick Shumacher unleashed some robustly libertarian views on social housing, followed by leaked emails denying fractures within its management team.

But were such ructions a factor in hastening McLean’s exit? Certainly not.

‘I left ZHA because a great opportunity came up to work at Bouygues, who I have worked with in the past and have always admired,’ she told the AJ. 

‘The experience of working at ZHA with such talented colleagues was a very positive one for me.’ 

Shame on you for thinking otherwise.

No Chippo required

Met Museum

Met Museum

It’s been a week to forget for David Chipperfield and two of his New York projects. 

Having been on hold since the summer, his plans for a $600 million south-west wing at the city’s Metropolitan Museum of Art will now not be built for at least seven years as a result of financial concerns. 

Well at least my six-storey block of flats in New York’s West Village will keep me busy, he must surely have thought, only to learn that the scheme, which had already been reduced in height following opposition, had been refused permission

There’s always one, isn’t there

Penny farthing crop

Penny farthing crop

It was perhaps inevitable that architect and adventurer Jonathan Beswick would not take a conventional route to PropSki 2017, last week’s networking event for young property professionals at Tignes in the French Alps. 

Beswick (pictured, left) together with Nico Cary, co-founder of networking group Sportslobster, made the trip by penny-farthing. The Phileas Fogg-ish expedition coincides with the rebranding of Beswick’s studio, WMOR Architects, to Adventure in Architecture, reflecting the practice’s mix of high-end residential and extreme sports activities.

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