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The news review of 2005

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With more dramatic ups and downs than the Big One at Blackpool, 2005 has certainly been a dramatic year on the British architectural scene. Ed Dorrell takes a retrospective glance back over the last 12 months


The year started sadly with the premature death of Richard Feilden, the founding partner of Feilden Clegg Bradley. The architectural world perked up though after Zaha Hadid won the competition to design a new Architecture Foundation HQ in Southwark. Other developments saw the unveiling of a new scheme for the Fourth Grace site by Danes 3XN and Eric Van Egeraat's closure of his London office.


February wasn't that dissimilar with the two biggest stories being that Zaha won another comp - this time for London's Olympic pool - followed by another significant obit; Philip Johnson's long overdue death in New York, aged 98. Additionally Terry Farrell opened his new Home Office building in Southwark to popular acclaim. Oh, and ARB troublemaker Ian Salisbury resigned from the board.


'Crossrail could sink Barbican' screamed the headline on the biggest story of the year, warning that burrowing under the Sixties icon could leave the flats in big trouble. Following this drama came rumours from up north that Manchester's successful architecture centre CUBE, run by Graeme Russell, was in big trouble. Unsurprisingly it then effectively closed to widespread mourning among Mancunians.


Architects overwhelmingly support the Labour government, was the predictable outcome of the AJ's pre-election survey. But with such an unpalatable right-winger, John Burrows, as shadow planning minister, this was no bad thing. Other developments in April included a heated exchange between Canterbury University and the Kent Institute of Art and Design over the former's plans for a new school of architecture.


No-one was shocked that either Tony Blair had won the general election, thus guaranteeing the future of PFI, or that BDP had yet again come top of the AJ100. We were rather more surprised that Ken Yeang was joining, of all people, Llewelyn Davies. Richard Rogers had a spat with arch classicist Quinlan Terry over the Chelsea hospital and Brett Steele romped home as AA chair.


The AJ not just reported the news but also became the news in June with its multi-award winning redesign, led by Sarah Douglas. Also hitting the headlines was the AJ's wildly successful rebirth of the 40 under 40, which featured at the V&A. Other stories this month that didn't feature the AJ included KPF's plans for the massive DIFA Tower.


Did you hear that London won the 2012 Olympics? Apparently there'll be a lot of work in it for architects. The following day the capital was set ablaze by some nasty terrorists, who took Reid architect Lee Harris with them. Architectural news was put in perspective. But it was still good to hear that Hugh Broughton has won the high-profile Antarctic base competition. He's off there next month.


The silly season. Not a lot happening. But even so there were still some cracking stories at www.ajplus.co.uk. Among their number was the collapse of one of the government's Design Code pilots in Ashford, the reporting of the RIBA's Accredited Architects in Building Conservation register to the Office of Fair Trading and Aukett designing a building round a Buckminster-Fuller dome.


There was a hefty helping of schadenfreude in September when Prince Charles' proposed extension to Poundbury faced locals at an appeal where they described it as a 'carbuncle'. Jack Pringle became president. Ricky Burdett won the race to curate the 2006 Venice Biennale. And Ian Ritchie pissed off Southwark planners by winning his appeal for his towers scheme at Potters' Fields.


Ritchie made it into the news again - he was thrown off most of the huge White City shopping centre. The same happened to Richard MacCormac at the Beeb.Also unexpected was that bookies were left out of pocket when the Scottish Parliament won Stirling. Good news though for Heneghan Peng, who won the vast Giants' Causaway comp, and Toyo Ito, who picked up the Royal Gold Medal.


HRH will have been cheered that his old nemesis Mondial House was to go, but less happy that Fletcher Priest were behind the replacement. Richard Rogers re-appeared with Urban Task Force II, which seemed largely designed to prove that he was right the first time round. And Laurie Chetwood revealed plans for another wacky house, this time in the Andies. Those Chileans will be pleased.


December's been rather busy so far. Eric Kuhne has been revealed as designing the world's biggest ever tower in Kuwait. Eek. Rem Koolhaas will be doing the 2006Serpentine. Zaha's already in trouble on the Olympic Swimming Pool budget. Terry Farrell left the contentious South Ken tube project. Jeremy Till will curate the British Pavilion in Venice. All a little tiring.

Ed Dorrell

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