CIB – Dare You Call Us Prophetic?

This year is a time for anniversaries and reflection. CIB is 30, which means that Andy Cassie has been at the helm of the company for that long

Gavin Tadman Joint MD

Gavin Tadman16.10.2015

A previous piece by Catherine Towns states that she has been with us for 10 years, and me I’ve been here far too long. To qualify this, my past is beginning to catch up on me.

As far back as 2005, CIB created a memorable campaign for Euroclad using the headline, ‘Whatever you design, we'll deliver’. We used a series of hand drawn images of everyday objects thrown into the architectural landscape, in a similar style to Claes Oldenburg, the main one being a cheese grater in the City of London. Many years later the Leadenhall Building was opened by our client British Land.

Our next set of projects for Euroclad included a set of architectural drawing competitions. The first to replace the structure that was once the West Pier at Brighton, the next, in 2007, being to design the first structure to be built on the moon. As well as receiving some cheeky ones, such as a McDonalds, or an outdoor smoking shelter (legislation had been introduced earlier in the year banning smoking in all enclosed working spaces), there were some practical solutions to colonizing the lunar surface.

Then jump forward to this summer, when my son had the pleasure of a week’s work experience at Foster and Partners. On returning on his first day, I asked him what he got up to? “I was in a meeting about the logistics of building on the moon.” This time, it wasn’t a quirky design competition to get architects to engage with our client’s brand, but building FOR REAL. The idea is to send up a lander, which contains a cylindrical module, an inflatable dome and two robots. Upon landing, the dome is inflated. Then the robots, equipped with 3D-printing heads, are engaged in gathering moon dust and then printing a layer on top of the inflated dome. The final result would be a two-storey habitation that houses four people and uses its original cylinder, which would contain the life-support systems, as an airlock. It would be strong enough to fend off extreme temperatures, meteorites and solar and gamma radiation.

Our latest venture into predicting the future, through engagement tactics, was for our longest serving client of 29 years, RIW (yes, I did say it was a big year for us). Working with the Architects’ Journal and given RIW’s heavy involvement in underground waterproofing we proposed a competition encouraging architects to get creative and design an underground structure below any UK building or landmark. The objective being to help strengthen the link between RIW and designing below ground.

With the AJ’s help, we managed to land Ken Shuttleworth (the architect behind the Gherkin and founder of MAKE Architects) as our main judge alongside Rory Olcayto (the editor).

The judges favourite was submitted by MSMR Architects - a columbarium in Kensington Gardens using the Long Water as its landmark.

Are we that prophetic (yes, prophetic) at CIB? Only time will tell.

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