Wednesday30 July 2014

Flashing the cash

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Thrifty councils, cod philosophy and when is £700 too much for a drink?


Drawn to their wallets

A fantastic turnout for this year’s 10x10 Drawing the City London auction in aid of Article 25 raised £80,000 for the charity, aided by the well-oiled architect audience, who were often seen bidding on their own pieces to make sure they went beyond the reserve price.

Phil Coffey was one of those who failed to secure an artwork but told Boots he had spent £700 on a charity bid the night before, and rather more usefully. His prize: a drink with developer Cathedral’s creative director Martyn Evans.

The loan strangers

The Treasury is not impressing many with its various big-money plans to kickstart spending in construction, including its “loan guarantees” scheme. “We’ve not seen a penny of that money,” bemoans Construction Products Association economics director Noble Francis.

He must be pleased to see the Treasury getting around to appointing people to work on the scheme. Two posts are being advertised with austerity-busting salaries of £140,000.

Service not included

Cabe has been doing the rounds of local authorities, Boots hears, trying to sell its design review service. One of its first calls was to the City Corporation, one of the few authorities that continues to have a steady stream of applications to consider. You’re welcome to comment on applications, its chief planner Peter Rees told them, but you must be joking if you think we’re going to pay you — a sentiment Boots hears is shared by other councils.

Are you for real?

Boots is wondering whether housing developer Harrison Varma might need to change the entry for “philosophy” on its website. The firm specialises in luxury homes and is behind a new apartments scheme overlooking Hampstead Heath in north London. With prices starting at £5 million, the apartments are being marketed at wealthy East Europeans.

That philosophy tagline? “Real homes for real people.”

Fifty shades of Rem

OMA founder Rem Koolhaas

Country matters: Rem Koolhaas.

The RIBA was packed by a familiar crowd as Zaha Hadid, Patrik Schumacher and Robert Stern joined the audience to hear Rem Koolhaas accept the Jencks Award on Tuesday. Koolhaas revealed that his unfulfilled ambitions include writing a book about the countryside — a project to which he hopes “to bring the combined literary precision of Tolstoy and Houellebecq”. 

Given the Frenchman’s predilection for stories detailing the steamier side of life, Boots looks forward to the
launch of the Office for Rural Architecture soon.



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