November 2010 issue

Although in this country we rather pride ourselves on our historic buildings, and spend masses of money ensuring they retain their olde-worlde charm, this effort sometimes goes over the head of visitors. I was told a story the other day of a visitor from afar (I’m not naming the country for fear of stereotyping!). When shown a thatched cottage they were amazed – but not in the way the owner expected. “Why on earth would you use that on the roof when there are so many advanced building materials available?” they asked. And indeed, there are many, but that’s not the point is it? Although he did have a point…

Get Britain Building have launched their ‘Plan B’. Campaigners have been at each of the three party conferences to raise awareness of the importance of investment, in the biggest part of the UK economy. “It has never been more important to hammer home the message that every £1 invested generates £2.84 in economic activity - 92% of which stays in the UK” pointed out Mike Leonard, Get Britain Building’s spokesperson. GBB supporters include The Builders’ Merchants Federation, Precast Concrete Federation, Construction Products Association, Federation of Master Builders, Home Builders’ Federation and Modern Masonry Alliance. You can join them at

Odd story of the month has got to be the MGM Mirage Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas. Its beautiful curved glass facade does a bit more than shimmer in the Nevada sun – it’s been claimed that the curvature of the south side concentrates a beam of sunshine, dubbed the ‘death ray’, which arcs across the swimming pool area, melting plastic bags and ‘slightly singing’ the hair of one guest. The architects had foreseen this “solar convergence phenomenon”, and have fitted windows with a solar reducing film. I’m looking out of my office window and wondering what concentrated sunshine would be like!

This issue will be with you around bonfire night - do keep safe!

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Future Constructor & Architect is a specification platform for architects and building contractors, which focuses on top-end domestic and commercial developments.

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