Is there a cake in the world that can rival the Eccles cake? I doubt it.

I’m back. It’s been a busy few weeks. Thanks go out to Alfie for keeping the motor running with a couple of entries whilst I was away. If you’re a lazy aRSSe who tunes in via the newsfeed, you should have received a few image transmissions from me too.

In the intervening time I have…

  • stumbled across a curious piece of domestic delight in Chelsea (did you get my postcard?).
  • put my piece of domestic delight up for sale. SOLD!
  • reinstated – despite a worrying story once told to me by a scholar in Georgian architecture – my National Trust membership.
  • stumbled across the delightfully curious domestic residence by FAT – it works even better in the flesh than it does on the pages of a magazine.
  • missed a party in a squat in Hackney, simply because I was too tired from a weeks parenting (old age: 1 – hippy credibility: 0)
  • revisited Jane Jacobs’ ‘Death and Life of Great American Cities’
  • self administered the Jacobs antidote – Gordon Cullen’s ‘Townscape’.
  • left both books on the bookshelf and ventured out onto failing 50s housing estates and tried to convince the people that lived there that I could deliver the changes they’ve needed for the past 20 years.

This last one was the trickiest.

Building Design magazine ran an article this week called ‘Impact 100’, it’s a chart of the top 100 architects that have had the most impact on the industry in the last year. By combining a number of factors – total value of projects, number of prizes won and number press column inches – they created an impact rating and constructed a chart. Norman Foster came out on top. No surprises there then.

I wasn’t on the list. No surprise there either, but as I sat in the living room of a resident who’d lived in his house since it was first built in 1953, raised a family, lost a wife, ended up alone; I couldn’t help thinking that he’d probably put me pretty high on the impact list as I asked him to give up his home for the good of the community.

I’ll remember that next time Foster makes another wobbly bridge or tower block shaped like a vegetable.

George Ferguson, President of the RIBA has suggested this week that the future winners of the Stirling Prize, of which the tower block shaped vegetable was one, should be made to wait a year before being allowed to enter. A defect in 300 of the ‘gherkin’s’ windows sent a sheet of glass crashing to street this week.

It’s a good idea, it should at least get out of the standard defects liability period before we all bow down and pay homage. Maybe it should be even longer. Maybe we should wait until a generation of people have used it. Maybe we should ask the people of that generation if it should win.

Coming up: sketches and photos exploring the contents of the aforementioned ‘Townscape’ book.

It’s nice to be back.