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Review of the Year - 2006

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Ed Dorrelltakes a look back at the events in the architectural world over the past year.


The year started with the news that the Tories were back in business- and this time they were interested in architecture. Other events saw a threat emerging to Grade II* listing and the ARB Reform Groupmaking a big noise. Zaharetained an, ahem, diplomatic silence on being joined by Allies and Morrisonon her Architecture Foundation scheme.


Zahaagain made it into the headlines, when it came to light that Olympics minister Tessa Jowellhad sent an apology over remarks she'd made about 'cost hikes' on the Olympic Aquatic Centre. Fosterrevealed plans for a tower next to Seagram in New York, to surprising silence. SMCwas sniffing about looking hungry (as usual). Oh, and Snøhetta and Spence's Turner Contemporary scheme in Margate went down the Swanee.


SMC's appetite was sated - and everyone else was gobsmacked - when it announced to the stock market that it had bought Alsop Architects. SMC Alsopwas born. Argent's vast King's Cross development won the green light from Camden Council and Viñolysubmitted proposals for the 'walkie talkie tower' in London.


Veteran Brazilian Paulo Mendes da Rochawon the Pritzker Prize. Alain de Bottonemerged as an architectural player through the publication of his bestseller, The Architecture of Happiness. And KPF's helter-skelter-ish DIFA Tower in the City of London won planning permission.


May started sadly with news of the death of veteran North American urbanist Jane Jacobs. BDPcame top of the AJ100. But watch this space; it probably won't happen again for some time due to the expansionist plans of its competitors. This was illustrated when Capitasurprised everyone by buying Ruddle Wilkinson. Tony Blairfinally put Prezzaout of his misery and removed his portfolio of planning powers. Oh, and the government tried to knock down the Commonwealth Institute.


Headlines screamed in June when Peter Phillips, a candidate for the RIBApresidency, was exposed as a member of the BNP. His election hopes were further dented when he was pictured next to a BNPactivist called ' Pissy Dave'.


Grimshaw's Bath Spa finally opened. Nobody seemed sure how late it was or how much time had been spent on it. But it was a lot. Alain de Bottonsaid he was moving in to development; Herzog & de Meuronpresented a contentious scheme to extend Tate Modern. Mayor Kenadmitted his ambitions to extend his planning powers in London.


The AJ revealed both plans by Olympic Delivery Agencyto hold a competition for the Velodrome and the Stirling shortlist. Norman Fosterreceived praise from across the pond when his Hearst Tower opened in Manhattan.


Ah, the Venice Biennale. What joy. What an event. What a bloody good party. Back home, SMCturned into the biggest practice in Scotland by buying three firms on the same day.


More good news for everyone's favourite Swiss grumps, Herzog & de Meuron, when it was announced they had won the 2006 RIBA Gold Medal. Peter Bishopwon the race to the directorship of the new Design for London Quango. Richard Rogerswon the Stirling Prizewith Barajas airport and promptly revealed plans for a name change. Norman Fosterwas facing less cheerful news from NYC after his latest plans for the Upper East Side took a slating from locals.


Unescostarted throwing its weight around in Britain's World Heritage Sites and everyone got a bit scared, including Ruth Kellywho promptly killed off an Ian Simpsontower in Liverpool and called in Viñoly's walkie-talkie. Marco Goldschmiedlaunched legals against Richard Rogers, who vented his anger on the ODAfor its procurement strategy. In turn, the ODA then revealed more changes to Zaha's aquatic centre.


www.ajplus.co.ukattracted a record number of visitors with the news that Renzo Pianowas to build a new convent building next to Corb's Ronchamp.

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