On a recent airline flight, I found myself seated next to a woman who engaged me in conversation as we were served the first meal of the flight. I’m not usually talkative when flying, but she caught my attention when she explained that she was travelling to a symposium in an Asian city where she was due to speak on the subject of town planning.
As we waited for our trays to be collected, my neighbour described the dearth of talented building designers she can call upon to realise new structures throughout the world, let alone in her own city. I had revealed that I had designed award-winning buildings and before the coffee was refilled, I had agreed a commission to design another award-winning office building on a narrow site on the corner of Mary Street.
On my flight home, I tore a page from the inflight magazine and on the blank side I began to sketch my design for the Gems Tower and Apartments. And before I knew it, I had designed the entire building in the time it took to land and collect my luggage. I was astounded at the time it took to do this, but I admit I employed some timesaving engineering and design elements. Firstly, I designed 100 high speed lifts to serve the 35 floors, which were much quicker to draw. Externally, I defined a ‘no standing anytime’ zone that stretched around the front and side of the building on Mary Street which dispensed with the need to draw time-consuming stationary cars. And there’s no street furniture in sight. That takes ages to do. As a result, my design came in under budget and weeks ahead of time which would save the developers millions.
My design was accepted immediately and I looked forward to the the groundbreaking ceremony in November. Then I received the heartbreaking news that the tower would be delayed because of a disagreement between the developers and the neighbouring buildings about what colour would be best to paint the tower. It’s supposed to be yellow.