AS A BUILDING contractor, have you wondered what is going on inside the heads of young cutting-edge architects? Well I can tell you: Tomb Raider, Donkey Kong, Gunstar Super Heroes, Bloodrayne II and Shadow of the Colossus.
Suddenly it all seems clear.
These aspiring shapers of our built environment draw inspiration from the fantastical graphics used by games programmers to create their bizarre alternatives to real life.
Th is was revealed to one oldergeneration architect, David Levitt, of architects Levitt Bernstein, when he was called on to judge an architectural competition organised by Cabe, the Government's official adviser on building design.
The competition, called Europan 8 (sic), aims to encourage young architects to design solutions to urban planning conundrums across Europe. Europan 8 has a bit of a chequered history: so far no British design has been built. A failure for Europan 8, but an encouraging endorsement of our planning laws.
But this year Cabe has promised that the winning designs for the British sites (in Oldham, London and Milton Keynes) will be built.
But there's a spanner in the works because the judges found no winner for Milton Keynes. Mr Levitt explains that this is because all the entries focused on the use of computergenerated presentations and ignored the problems posed by the site. At the r isk of sounding like John Major, Mr Levitt said young architects should 'go back to basics' and stop trying to outdo each other with 'wacky' presentations.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to Mr Levitt, whose outspoken criticism might yet save us all from a future designed by a geek with gelled hair, intoxicated by the bright colours and flashing lights of his desktop publishing package and the falsetto nonsense of James Blunt leaking through his iPod's earplugs.
IF YOU want to know what's going on in British construction, keep in touch with the Australian stock exchange.
Investors down-under are usually the first to know when an iconic British project is about to go t its-up.
Last year, when Multiplex realised that the Wembley redevelopment was going to struggle to meet its deadline, it scurried off to the Australian Stock Exchange like a guilty penitent to the confessional. The stock exchange is not, though, a Catholic priest and the news was leaked.
Now that the inevitable has occurred and the Football Association has said 'stuff this, we're off to Cardiff', Multiplex is back in Australia looking for absolution. For a firm that homed in on Wembley as the perfect project with wh ich to launch itself as a major player in the UK, Multiplex is looking very much like a company that has failed to cross the cultural divide.
THE circumstances surrounding the shock decision to scrap Margate's iconic Turner Centre project are beginning to filter out via my contacts at The Whelks Institute for the Built Environment (formerly University College, Margate).
The official reason is that the building, resembling a mighty pebble, would require a lot of maintenance and might be washed away by the tide.
The cost of the project had already tripled to £50 million, so the available funds were stretched.
But the real reason, it is rumoured, is that it has got around town that the project was to be an art gallery, with paintings, named after a someone called Joseph Mallord William Turner and was not the celebration of daytime TV inspired by presenter Anthea Turner the town had been promised.
A new location, possibly a vacant shop next to Blockbuster Video or the Post Office, has now been mooted.