THING OF THE WEEK
BANDS FC… Arbeta in Manchester, formerly known as One Central Park, launched to great fanfare on Thursday with an event that had something for all 200-plus attendees, especially those with a fondness for football and music. Bands FC cleverly combined both worlds and treated those at Arbeta’s event to an exhibition of its work. The designers have a cult following for seamlessly blending artwork from the world’s biggest bands and musicians, into iconic football badges. Graphic designer Mark Liptrott explained that the inspiration often came from the origin of the band – see the Echo and the Bunnymen/Liverpool FC crest – but more often than not the ideas were born out of what looked good. He said: “Wham! West Ham, it just works”. Arbeta is a £10m, 138,000 sq ft scheme from Sharp Projects.
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GUESS SHOE..? Urban Splash chairman Tom Bloxham may have a run for his money when it comes to distinctive shoe choices. His penchant for Doc Martens (and Birkenstocks) may already be legendary, but the rest of the property sector has also cottoned on that smart footwear is no longer in vogue. At a recent Homes England gathering, Capital & Centric’s Tim Heatley and Judi Greenwood, Homes England’s Danielle Gillespie and Manchester City Council chief Joanne Roney pitted their footwear against Tom’s; but who’s shoe is which? Time to get a USP (that’s Unique Shoe-ing Point to you).
NUMBER ONE… What do Buckingham Palace, Blackpool Tower, and now Philharmonic Dining Rooms on Hope Street in Liverpool have in common? They are all grade one-listed, after the news that the art nouveau Philharmonic Dining Rooms have been upgraded from grade two-listed status, on the recommendation of Historic England. This makes the building the first purpose-built Victorian pub to receive the accolade. If you pop over, check out the rare gents’ toilets (if allowed and able) and the horseshoe shaped bar. Cheers!
RONEY’S DEATH STAR… It would appear that Andy Burnham has some competition when it comes to intergalactic strategy. The Greater Manchester Mayor has spoken at length about his dream of a “transport Death Star” to connect the region in a similarly co-ordinated (and presumably, circular) way to Darth Vader’s battleship. Speaking at a Forum for the Built Environment event this week, Manchester City Council chief executive Joanne Roney came out all lightsabres glowing as she revealed plans for her own “skills Death Star”. They include the launch of an interactive tool which will help young people plot a career path into certain industries. May the force be with them.
CONWY, CHESTER, BARCELONA…When he’s not designing buildings Rob Griffin, senior architect at Liverpool-based Cass Associates, is running. Most recently he has been training for the Barcelona half-marathon which takes place on 16 February and will see Griffin, who is a member of the Liverpool Architectural Society, raise money for British Blind Sport by battling his way along the quaint boulevards of the Catalan capital. It’s not his first rodeo though; Rob runs four half-marathons a year on average and has pounded the pavements of Liverpool, Chester and Conwy in the past although his PB came in the Wirral half, an eye-wateringly fast one hour 35 minutes!
DRAGONS… Not every topping out ceremony comes with blessings and dragons. At the topping out of the second phase of Middlewood Locks this week, a yew tree was anointed with wine, corn, oil and salt to bring prosperity and abundance to future residents. Salford city mayor Paul Dennett announced that he would be bagsing the best of the lot; the wine. According to Simon McCabe, deputy chairman at developer Scarborough International Group, water may be more handy, as in the highest high rises in China, traditionally swimming pools were built on top for dragons to drink from. Given Scarborough’s JV partner FairBriar includes a 25% Chinese stake, plus contractor Beijing Construction Engineering Group’s heritage, perhaps a pool at Middlewood Locks would be more appropriate. If a little chilly.