Thursday: an enjoyable evening looking at the sketches entered in the Denis Mason-Jones sketching competition, in Leeds.
Tuesday: speaking at the Residential Investment Conference 2015. It was held underground, and the lecture theatre style benches glowed red. I tried not to be too distracted.
Monday night: watching ideas for getting one million more homes into the outer London boroughs, Pecha Kucha style at the NLA.
Saturday: more relaxed time spent in Edinburgh.
At the launch event for Cycle to MIPIM 2016.
1450 km from London to Cannes in five days. All for good cause: children’s charity Coram. It’s in March, so bring on some Scottish winter training on the bike.
In Manchester discussing how devolving power to regions can lead to more effective and more appropriate solutions to the current housing crisis. Lots of support for this and lots of good ideas. I think Scottish devolution has opened people’s eyes to the benefits of local decision making but they haven’t yet experienced it’s overwhelming, empowering, energy.
Next day: Derby. We’ve started the design of Phase Two of Castleward so it’s a good time to think about the bits of Phase One that work (mixed use/ mixed tenure/ mixed typologies/ the biggest trees we’ve ever planted/ streets) and the bits that don’t. If being an architect is sometimes quite hard work, it’s all made worthwhile when you see things you imagined realised.
At an event in the Shard hearing about the power of a research, design and manufacturing based economy in the Midlands. Prosperity, creativity, enviable quality.
Jaguar CEO Dr Ralph Speth gave the keynote address. Manufacturing economies are prosperous economies when the quality of product is as high as this, and we heard about the combination of education, investment and supply chain required to operate at this level. You need a good supply of great places for people to live too, and we’d love to help with that.
I’m increasingly fascinated by design and manufacture, so I’ll ask if I can sketch the factory.
For the first time this year, the sun has made it over the horizon in time for my morning commute. The number of cyclists seems appreciably up from the dark winter months.
In the evening I popped passed Grosvenor’s smart consultation event and had a chat with a fellow user about annual Brompton mileage: 1,300 for me, 2,000 for our local green councillor. Better try harder.
At the launch of the ULI’s design guide for Build-to-Rent.It’s a good guide. If you read it, I’d start at Chapter 6; Management as you need to understand that in order to understand the thinking in the design chapters. It’s an operator business, Build-to-Rent. There’s lots more potential investment than there is stock to invest in so there should be lots of design going on: a well-timed guide therefore. I’ve inexplicably lost my voice and sound like the Crankies’ grandmother, which makes it difficult to describe how we’re the right people to do this design work, but I sense cracking opportunities edging closer.
The launch was in the Royal Geographic Society in Kensington. In the bits I was in there wasn’t much evidence of their fantastic heritage. Livingstone, Shackleton, Hilary, Scott: all have spoken here I was told. Maybe I could sell them some portraits?
In Ladybank in rural Fife for Ian’s lunch. It’s a sleepy place, Ladybank, with a sense of quiet when the train leaves you standing in the station that’s reminiscent of that scene in Trainspotting. The meal was fun and I enjoyed hearing about what’s made Ian’s business work well for 40 years and what it’s like to support East Fife. We started working together a decade ago on our Muirton project in Perth. It’s been a job for the famous namesakes, Muirton. We’ve had Ian Fleming, Euan McGregor, James Brown and Donald Campbell.
The drawing shows Ian talking, but looking out the window to the golf course.
At the Scottish Property Awards with some people working on the dramatic transformation of Dundee Waterfront. It’s a project gathering momentum.As if to illustrate this, at the end of the listed awards it looked like they’d won nothing, but five minutes later there were two on the table. The transformation of the waterfront is particularly impressive as it’s only a part of the wholesale changes in the city. We often look abroad for good examples of this sort of urban renewal but there are lessons to learn closer to home. In Dundee they’ve got support for change from politicians, council officers and local investors and decades of work are coming to a conclusion.
Surprisingly radical for such a conservative looking bunch.
I had a pleasant walk through the traffic free city on the day of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. This is the enormous Cheesegrater building by Rogers Stirk Harbour. The scale, in relation to the adjacent Lloyds, is incredible, the lobby alone is about five storeys high. I wonder what they’ll put in it? Below is Paul Finch giving an insightful talk to HTA the night before. The Thatcher legacy was the main topic, really.