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Astragal: Who is Instagram’s latest architectural star?

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Claiming he is fed up of having fake accounts mimicking him, Norman Foster has joined Instagram. 

Using the handle @officialnormanfoster, the architect has been sharing candid snaps of his skiing holidays – including a 42km cross-country ski marathon – as well as his work on the Museo del Prado project in Madrid. 

The account has also revealed a more playful side, with snaps of Foster cycling down the ramp of his Reichstag in Berlin, and another of him wearing a straw trilby and spiral sunglasses.


A post shared by Norman Robert Foster (@officialnormanfoster) on

He even shared a hand-drawn image on his iPad, thanking his fans once he received 1,000 followers. 

Proving he really does accept no imitations, Foster wrote in the image caption: ‘This is the ONLY official Instagram account of me – Norman Foster.’

Model behaviour at MIPIM

The British government’s decision to highlight the success of UK architects at MIPIM was very well received. But who would cover the costs of transporting models by the likes of Eric Parry and Grimshaw to the UK pavilion? This matter had apparently not been resolved until a senior official stood up at one event and warmly thanked the architects for footing the bill! 

Two parties, one manifesto

Gavin murray & james murray

Gavin murray & james murray

They may be from rival political parties but boy do housing minister Gavin Barwell and London’s deputy mayor for housing James Murray sing from the same hymn sheet.

Speaking at separate sessions at MIPIM on Thursday, both men cited the same three main challenges in tackling the housing crisis: infrastructure, affordability and (hurrah) design. No wonder Murray referred to a ‘coalition’ approach to tackling the problem.

Singing the blues

The microphone-mashing Rock the Cash Bar karaoke mega-jamboree has become MIPIM’s undisputed, much-anticipated end-of-show event.

Organised by consultant Assembly Studios, the event is a must-attend for the industry’s wannabe Leo Sayers/Honey Gs. Standout performances included CBRE’s Colin Thomasson and James Nicholson of Kier, singing Islands in the Stream, and Chris Dyson crooning Hey Jude.

In one ironic episode, Joe and Elly Morris sang Club Tropicana with its memorable line ‘drinks are free’. This after – sources claim – they had to cough up €160 on a bottle of fizz in the nearby Bar Roma. 

Stirling Prize saved the future

Lord's media centre

Lord’s media centre

Source: hobbs luton

Amanda Levete was the castaway on last weekend’s Desert Island Discs, and as well as sharing music by Westlife and James Brown, among others, she revealed just how crucial winning the Stirling Prize for the Lord’s Media Centre (pictured) had been for her previous practice Future Systems, run with her late husband Jan Kaplicky. 

‘We were almost bankrupt,’ Levete recalled. ‘We were so focused on the media centre I had forgotten to look for other work and the bank wouldn’t lend us any more money. The Stirling Prize was £20,000 and that kept us going for a long time.’

Will Elizabeth House scheme rise from the dead?

Final desings: David Chipperfield Architects' designs for Elizabeth House - York Road

Final desings: David Chipperfield Architects’ designs for Elizabeth House - York Road

Readers will recall the long-running saga surrounding David Chipperfield Architects’ proposed £600 million redevelopment of Elizabeth House in London’s Waterloo.

Submitted for planning in 2012, the mega-scheme (pictured) faced stiff opposition from English Heritage and Westminster City Council – including a High Court wrangle – before receiving its final permissions.

Since then the technically challenging project has remained on the drawing board. But now Bratislava-based developer HB Reavis is understood to have snapped up the site for around £250 million.

Word on the street is that a new set of architectural eyes will be brought in to look at the designs, with a couple of AJ100 big-hitters rumoured to be at the front of the queue. But would anyone really want to tackle this planning minefield with a new application? Watch this space.

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