Isabel Allen - Editor, Architects' Journal


Relaunched Architects’ Journal comes out today. Spend all day
fielding responses ranging from the ecstatic “it looks as though it has
come down from heaven” (really, it does) to the irate “I think you
should all be sacked”.

Two-year-old traps fingers in nursery door and bleeds profusely.

Am late for relaunch party. Compensate with overemotional speech. Remember to thank the accountant.

Forget to thank the website people. Can’t stop looking at the new AJ. Am overwhelmed with pride.


Hangover not helped by steady stream of abuse spewing from every
answer machine in the office. Feel slightly better when it becomes
apparent that it is all from the same very angry man. Key points are:
our contributors are unattractive; we obviously think we’re trendy;
it’s completely different from before; it looks as though it has been
designed by Stalin; we should all be sacked.

Touchingly, he ends every diatribe with a cheery “all the best”.
Happily, all subsequent feedback is enthusiastic. Delete Mr Angry.

discussion with news editor about whether to devote analysis page to
Bob the Builder or to important but dull issue concerning architects’
insurance. Bob wins out. The tip-off has come from my four-year-old
nephew. The current storyline, where Bob has to protect Sunflower
Valley from an evil architect intent on turning it into a concrete
jungle, is a blatant attempt to indoctrinate future generations into
distrusting architects.

Clearly, there are longterm issues at stake. Plus, it’s more fun to illustrate than a story on insurance.

captions for models in forthcoming AJ Corus 40 Under 40 (the 40 most
talented architects under 40 years of age) exhibition at the V&A.

Hawkins/ Brown architects to the opening of the Roald Dahl Centre in
Great Missenden. Willy Wonka meets the train. Small crowd is waiting
for a glimpse of Johnny Depp. It’s not Johnny Depp. Crowd has to make
do with Sophie Dahl, Blue Peter and Cherie Blair.


to extremely bad planning, and an instinctive drive for economy, get up
at 4am to catch an EasyJet flight from Luton to Paris. Not as hard as
it sounds. Baby wakes at three.

Read Roald Dahl biography on flight. Pass it off as background
reading for critique of Roald Dahl Centre. Visit avant-garde building
by fashionable French architect. Show off new AJ. Fashionable French
architect is duly impressed.


Realise am booked in for another unfeasibly early flight for Monday
morning. Make impromptu decision to ship entire family to Stansted to
spend the night in the Radisson SAS Hotel. Listen to tape of The Hungry
Crocodile on drive to Stansted. Pass it off as background reading for
critique of Roald Dahl building. Tell the children we are going to look
at aeroplanes. Try to pass it off as a treat. Am not proud of this.


Early flight to Munich. Remember EasyJet doesn’t do food.

Drink noxious cappuccino. Dictate grumpy editorial on 40 Under 40
from Munich airport. Enjoy hearty Germanic breakfast. Have second
thoughts about impolitic editorial.

Call office to make it more upbeat.

Visit worthy, but perfectly serviceable, building. Show off the new AJ. Plodding Bavarian architect visibly nonplussed.

Emergency phonecall from nursery. Both children covered in spots. Sod EasyJet.

last-minute full-fare from British Airways and fly straight home.
Arrive to find that the spots have been ascribed to a change in washing
powder and both children are happily asleep.


The two-year-old, or rather the three-year-old’s, birthday.

Also, press day. Bob the Builder and his Luddite tendencies have
been ousted in favour of Sonja Gandhi and her quest to preserve
important Lutyens buildings in New Delhi. Seems a fair exchange. Nip
out at lunchtime to buy birthday cake for three-year-old. By a cruel
twist of fate, manage to collide with nursery outing. Three-year-old
bursts into tears and wants to go with his mummy.

Have to get
back to pass pages. Make mental note to revisit life/work balance.
Bakery has run out of cakes. Can only offer carrot cake with slice
missing. Buy chocolate tarts and candles. Wonder if I can pass them off
as special fairy birthday cakes. Leave work at six for family trip on
the London Eye followed by special fairy birthday cakes. Three-year-old
is delighted. Feel like a fraud.


Second issue of the new AJ arrives in the office. Am overwhelmed with pride.

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