Back in February: at the beautiful (and somewhat hidden) Ardclach Bell Tower. We stayed in Nairn. I loved running on the beach in the dark and the snow, then retreating back to this cosy flat to warm up.
Culloden Battlefield. The line of the Red Coats and the line of the Jacobites, in the snow. The bothy on the left was a field hospital, the battle was over in an hour. There’s not much in the sketch, but standing here and looking gave me the time to consider what had happened.
The aftermath: the impressive Fort George. The Victorian splendour of Nairn.
Back amongst the sculptural shapes of the city.Chatting to the architects of EH4 and listening to a theory about how the spaces we make and the patterns of ownership contributes to the loneliness that afflicts society.
At the Devil’s Cut to celebrate Craig Jone’s Rowley’s 50th. Craig is trying out fifty a wee bit before me. I’ll check how he gets on, if he doesn’t like it maybe I’ll not bother.
Some folk on the tube. I used to be shy about drawing people on the tube but now I realise we are so close together that everyone is pretending there is nobody else here.
Sketching the three beautiful bridges while listening to three good speeches. Family weddings are so much easier than when I last turned up at them twenty five years ago. This is mostly because I’ve decided how many cheeks to kiss and nobody asks me if it will be my turn next.
At the lovely ceremony in Dalmeny Church. The four guys in front of me are Andreas, Ruari, Marc and Douglas: three boys and their dad. As the register was signed they played a brass medley that ranged from Wild Mountain Thyme to Star Wars. It was amusing for everyone and moving for some of us, a memory of my dad. A very special event.
That was undoubtedly the main event of the last wee while, but here are a few other sketches of recent events. Above is Fraser at World of Wings. We learnt about how the vulture is really a good thing, despite the reputation. He cleans up after animals have already died and gets disease out of the eco system. I liked the red tailed buzzard as he was happy to pose for a sketch.
Watching a film about the housing crisis: dispossession. We need more subsidised housing, across the country.
At a talk about the excellent work of architects Reiach & Hall.
Staying at the Culpeper. A London pub with five bedrooms.
A small businesses being creative and making the most of every inch of space in our cities. The opposite of bland hotels with long corridors and a smell concocted by an expert in user experience. Loved it.
I rode to Cannes in aid of children’s charity Coram. Our team of 4 raised £20,000 through very generous donations from friends and colleagues. Many thanks to everyone who donated. It’s a good cause: you can still donate here.
This is the rider briefing on the morning we left. After that I hardly managed anything. Everything moves too fast and actually requires a fair bit of concentration; there’s no time left to think about sketching.
Some people eating snacks on the bus inside the train that transfers you through the tunnel. Cycle to MIPIM is a bit like I imagine the army might be: you have a job to do and people shout at you when you don’t do it, and even when you do (though there was less of that this year).
And some ride captains.
After six days and nine hundred miles I arrived in Cannes for a good round of interesting lunches and meetings, and some parties. I enjoyed the chat and learned a fair bit, but at the back of my mind was the feeling that I need to go back, concentrate harder, cycle less, and draw the whole route.
Maybe next year.
The Build to Rent Forum is the place where the main industry characters come together and discuss how they’re getting on. I spent a day drawing the discussions. The drawings were in aid of excellent children’s charity Coram who I’m raising money for by cycling from London to Cannes. Please donate here if you can.
I spent nine hours drawing: here they are:
Where’s the land? Getting the day started with a bit of debate and some interesting questions.
The Collective have convincingly imbued their business with a social purpose.
I used to be confused by investors because they talked in jargon but now they just talk about how to make nice places for folk to live in. I can understand that.
This might make you wonder what the people focused people will talk about? They’re wondering what lessons to learn from the huge amounts of data that are being generated by all these new residents in new buildings. What’s really going to work for people?
To talk about this, we went for lunch.
Iain Murray’s passionately expressed views are just the thing to beat the post lunch slump.
The Scots are in London learning from the folk who’ve built more than we have, but there’s quite a bit in the pipeline north of the border.
Quite refreshing view of the potential of Build to Rent to meet housing need, from Councillor Darren Rodwell.
Finally, James Murray calmly set out the policy framework that we’ll all be working within, and why it is the way is.
I do go outside, you just wouldn’t know it from the drawings. New Year’s Day with the family.
Beautiful old cars…
…and the process by which they make them. And some racing cars, Ferrari’s only form of advertising.
Isla waiting for gymnastics to start, and me waiting for Isla.
Listening to a planning committee.
Sketching is quite popular these days and the nice guys from Meinhardt invited me along to their thriving sketch club at the British Library. It was great,, but I’m looking forward to drawing outdoors again.
The last drawing of the year, at Hugh & Murray’s house
Fiona and Paulina sleeping on the way to the HTA Design London party
Recovering the next day on the long trip home.
Earlier in the month I’d gone to Islay with the guys I began studying architecture with 30 years ago who are still architects.
This sort of thing didn’t happen 30 years ago. That’s middle age for you.
Recovering in London, trying to understand the detail of our new office. You don’t learn that much in 30 years.
It’s the time of year for shows: Fraser in his school Scots Night.
Brother in law and nephew excelling in panto.
…chatting to friends…
Public Service Broadcasting at the Barrowlands.
At the Davidson’s Mains war memorial.
My drawing of an afternoon in Stratford
is in a charity auction here
The charity is Article 25, an architectural charity delivering projects in developing countries around the world. There are another 99 art works for sale if you click here. One of the sketches for the drawing:
It features some of the local life of Stratford and an attractive tower called Stratosphere, design by architects StockWool for developer Telford Homes.
and meeting my new niece.
220 staff, partners and kids from HTA Design went to Amsterdam for the weekend.
We all stayed at the friendly and stylish Hyatt Regency.The focal point was Saturday night dinner for everyone in BAUT.
I spent the weekend before with some of the same people at Rosie and Martin’s wedding.
After that it was a serious discussion about the effort local authorities are making to get this form of housing moving. Mike Galloway pointed out Dundee had granted planning approval for two sites, and both in less than three months.
I’d been there for one of them, Studio Dundee. We are looking forward to getting it on to site.