The AA is saddened to learn that former AA Councillor and alumnus, Janet Jack, has died aged 81.
Jack, a former partner at BDP, is best known for her work with Neave Brown on the landscaping throughout the iconic 1970s housing estate in Camden, north London.The park, completed in 1979, lies at the heart of the 520-home estate. She filled the walls, steps and ramps created by Neave Brown with planting and playgrounds. She was also heavily involved in Erect Architects and J+L Gibbons restoration of the park was which completed last year. Jack had graduated in architecture from the Architectural Association in 1957 before focusing on landscaping. She joined BDP in 1981 and in 1986 Jack became the practice’s first female partner. She headed up the firm’s landscape architecture department and ran a large team in its London studio until 1991. While working at BDP Jack designed the landscaping for the Clore Gallery extension at the Tate Britain Gallery. She would go on to design the landscape settings for a number of James Stirling’s British buildings. Jack is survived by her husband Bill who was BDP chairman from 1989 to 1991.
Andrew Tindsley, landscape architect and company director at BDP
‘Janet played a major role in making landscape architecture one of BDP’s mainstream professions and though her design skills and tenacity set the foundations for much of what we do today.
’Her portfolio of work contains many notable achievements, not least her role in helping to successfully bring forward the Parliamentary Bill which enabled the UK Terminal of the Channel Tunnel to come to fruition.
’Whilst Janet has been away from BDP for many years, I believe that the foundations she laid helped our landscape architecture and now wider urbanism teams be as successful as they are today.’
Eleanor Fawcett, Friends of Alexandra Road Park
’It was a huge pleasure and privilege to have worked with Janet Jack on the restoration of Alexandra Road Park, the extraordinary modernist park which was her first major landscape project. I first met Janet in 2010, when I visited her to update on the plans to seek HLF funds for the restoration of the park. She was, as ever, welcoming and hospitable, but I suspect somewhat sceptical about our ambitions and nervous about the damage that a misjudged ‘restoration’ could do to her design. She was clearly very saddened by the state of the park after years of neglect, and had not felt able to visit it for almost a decade.
’Throughout the restoration project Janet provided advice and inspiration to the design team, always ready with her encyclopaedic knowledge of every aspect of the park, 40 years on, from irrigation systems to handrail details as well as the stack of her beautifully hand drawn planting plans. Her meticulous attention to detail alongside her enthusiasm for the project and the creative re-interpretation of some of her original playgrounds made these design sessions at her beautiful house a highlight.
’Everyone involved in the project was delighted that despite her ill health Janet was present first at the ground breaking ceremony for the restoration works, and then at the opening event where the park looked glorious, and which truly marked the beginning of a new chapter for this stunning legacy of Janet’s skill as a designer of beautiful landscapes.’
Susanne Tutsch, Erect Architecture
'I met Janet working on the Alexandra Road Park project and putting a RIBA talk together last summer when she was already very ill but determined to set this aside and dedicate herself to this ‘little project’. I loved our exchanges.
I was always struck by how Janet started practising when her profession rarely existed, collaborating with architects so unaccustomed to the idea of collaborating with landscape architects, working in a man’s world, quietly asserting her place, innovating and contributing so much - after all Alexandra Road Park was the first 20th century landscape to be listed - without feeling the need to make a big fuss about it. A good dose of humour and an ability to chuckle about architects’ vanities (rather than getting worked up about them) seemed to help - at least decades later when I met her.
As for Alexandra Road Park she still had a passionate interest now to see how the park developed through time and use. She took great pleasure from seeing people enjoy the park, recollecting watching a family equipped with ladders harvesting cherries, or noting informal paths being created through the bushes by playing children (just as she had hoped).
I admired how Janet stayed young, interested in new ideas, landscape and place making debate. She was keen for the park to be modernised where it needed to be (for example the playgrounds) and openly acknowledged so without vanity, wholeheartedly supporting us all the way through (the play debate at the time was altogether non-existent and her brief very limiting).
I think the recent refurbishment of the park meant a lot to her. Thank you to the residents to make that happen in time for her to see the park restored, future proofed and so loved!
Her work will carry on bringing so much pleasure to people. What a gift to leave behind!'
A full obituary will follow within coming weeks.
Image: Janet Jack (nee Kaye), 1956-57. Smith's Carn, Annet, Scilly. ENE elevation. Courtesy of AA Archives. In February Janet kindly donated to the AA Archives several of her projects from 1957, including her ‘Open Borstal for Girls’ and ‘Bird Observatory, Annett Island, Scilly isles’.
The AA is saddened to report that former chairman and president of RMJM and AA alumnus, Sir Andrew Derbyshire, has died aged 92.
Derbyshire was born in Sheffield in 1923 and originally studied natural sciences at Queen’s Cambridge, graduating during the Second World War. After serving with the Admiralty Scientific Service as an experimental officer (1944-46), he retrained as an architect and completed his studies at the Architectural Association in 1952. His joint final year thesis, now in the AA Archives, remains one of the most outstanding pieces of work of his time and has been widely published.
Derbyshire, who was knighted for services to architecture in 1986, was responsible for a string of high profile buildings including Sheffield’s Castle Hill Market, when he was deputy city architect, and York University and Hillingdon Civic Centre, for RMJM. A major figure within the RIBA for many years, Derbyshire served on the RIBA Council and contributed to the institute’s office survey which led to the RIBA Plan of Work. He was elected senior vice president in 1981.
Tributes have been posted by publications including Building Design and Architects Journal. His son Ben, managing partner of HTA Design, is due to give an address on his father’s life at this week’s RIBA Council meeting.
Image: Heslington West Campus – York University by RMJM. Photographer R.Garrett. Courtesy of AA Photo Library.
The AA is saddened to learn that influential architect and AA alumnus, Patrick Hodgkinson, has died aged 85.
Hodgkinson, a Life Member of the AA and former Councillor, studied at the AA from 1950 to 1956 and later taught as a Visiting Lecturer. He was considered by such distinguished architects and historians as Neave Brown and Ken Frampton as the most talented student of his generation. The obituary below was written by Brendan Woods for the RIBA Journal.
"Emeritus Professor Patrick Hodgkinson AADipl (1930-2016) was in the 1960’s one of England’s most successful and influential architects running a practice from his large house in Bayswater and driving a dark blue Drophead Aston Martin.
At that time he was the architect for the redevelopment of the Foundling Estate - which was to become the Brunswick Centre - having acquired the commission when he was working with Leslie Martin in Cambridge and during which time he designed Harvey Court, transforming an initial scheme by Martin and Collin St. John Wilson into the canonical brick stepped section. This building exercised a considerable influence on a whole generation of architects and students and was described by a young Cedric Price in Granta as a “C14 building with 13 amp plugs”, much to Patrick’s enjoyment.
He had also had considerable influence on the design of the Oxford Law Libraries. Martin had heard of this talented student possibly via Aalto in whose office Hodgkinson had worked in 1956 before graduating from the Architectural Association but more likely via Wilson scouting for talented young architects. In Harvey Court he demonstrates his ability to fuse rationalist principles with Aalto’s profound humanism. Originally asked to become involved in a housing project for the London Borough of St. Pancras he became a central figure in the Martin Studio. When that project failed to proceed he continued to flourish under Martin’s benign aegis but regrettably developing a lifelong rivalry with Wilson.
Hodgkinson was one of an extraordinary group of students at the AA comprising Kenneth Frampton, John Miller, David Gray, Adrian Gale and Neave Brown who has said that he was ‘the most prescient of his AA cohort, for Frampton ‘the most talented’ and for Miller ‘he stood out as a star’. His 1953 Brixton Housing Project developed ideas in contradistinction to the then current LCC fashion for mixed development - inspired by Le Corbusier’s Ville Radieuse and Unite’ in Marseilles - wherein he explored the ideas of low rise high density, in an attempt to renew the city in a more English way building on the precedent of the Georgian terrace, enriched with a sectional complexity and providing a direct relationship to the ground and thereby the street. These were ideas subsequently developed by Martin and colleagues in the Land Use Built Form Centre in Cambridge.
His relationship with the Brunswick Centre came to an end when McAlpines, who had bought the site from the original developer, imposed an unrealistic programme for the working drawings and he felt he had no alternative but to resign. There then followed a very difficult time when a major commission in Oxford - Wellington Square - foundered, tutoring at the AA with David Shalev (when David Chipperfield was one of his students) he failed to land the deanship of Cornell and his second marriage was in trouble. Salvation of a kind presented itself in securing a teaching post at the University of Bath where he established himself, carving out a role as a passionate and inspired teacher. His illustrated talks on Utzon, Aalto and Mount Athos are still vivid in my mind from the early 1990’s when I got to know him while teaching there. It was in this mode that his teaching career came to a close around 1995.
Still combative he saw off attempts by other architects to alter and/or extend the Brunswick until Allied London had the inspired idea to appoint him as architect for the refurbishment in the late 1990”s. Assisted by Levitt Bernstein under the guidance of his old assistant David Levitt, he masterminded a transformation of the then unloved and unpainted SS Brunswick into a more intimately scaled and lively shopping concourse with Waitrose at its northern end and the previously utilitarian southern entrance transformed with Carluccios and French Connection replacing the ramps for service vehicles. It meant that the long period in the wilderness, during which he never doubted the good sense and architectural and urbanistic value of ‘his bit of Bloomsbury’, was rewarded by Mike Ingall of Allied London’s faith in him.
I have lived in this building for over 20 years and grown to appreciate what an extraordinary achievement it is. Few architects can boast of anything comparable. As Alan Powers wrote some years ago about the portico to Brunswick Square, “Against the evening light, or on a winter’s evening, the tall thin columns standing out against the chiaroscuro background provide one of the few genuinely sublime architectural sights of London”.
Image: 1994 Foundling Estate Brunswick Centre, London, by Patrick Hodgkinson. Source: Image by Derek Plummer, courtesy of AA Photo Library.
The AA is saddened to hear of the death of architect William John Baker FRIBA, known as John, who passed away in October 2015 at the age of 88.
John had a long and successful career working for 30+ years with James Cubitt and Partners (JC&P), establishing an office in Lagos in 1956, and becoming a partner in 1968. He was a partner at JC&P London for the rest of his career. He had been a member of the AA since 1996.
He will be greatly missed by architects, friends and family alike.
We regret to inform that AA Alumnus and Life Member John Burkett AADipl FRIBA FCIArb, has passed away aged 89.
John graduated with an AA Diploma in 1953. He went on to become a RIBA fellow and, later on, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in 1971. In the 1970s he won the Financial Times industrial buildings award for a farm building in Devon.
The AA is sad to report that former AA student Desmond Henly has passed away.
Rupert Desmond Henly attended the Cheltenham School of Art and the North Gloucestershire Technical College part-time from 1939-1942. After being articled to Ranger & Rogers, Architects, he passed his Part I exams externally at the RIBA in May 1943. He joined Royal Engineers in 1942 and served through the duration of World War II. After war service he joined the AA in 1946 for the 4th and 5th years, receiving the AA Diploma in 1948. Henly attended the School of Planning & Research for Regional Development in Gordon Square for a year in 1948-49. In 1951 Henly went to the United States and worked in 1952-53 at the Sacramento Redevelopment Agency as a Planning Officer, a 1-year Town Planning Institute requirement. He then worked with Richard Neutra as a draughtsperson for two years and went on to work for Abe Geller in New York. Henly returned to the UK in 1955, when he then opened his own practice primarily designing domestic architecture. He retired to the south coast of England and later moved back to Cheltenham.
Mr Henly has been a strong supporter of the AA and its students, emphasizing the value of student work such as sketch books in the educational process. Mr Henly also kindly donated all his student work and material from the Planning School and more recently to the Photo Library, slides he took in the 1950s of the Eames House and other important projects.
A memorial was held on what what would have been his 93rd birthday, 25th November 2015 at the place of his birth, the Sudeley Castle Estate, Winchcombe.
Berrell Jensen died on the 25th of July 2015 at Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland. Berrell was a South African-born metal sculptor, social worker and teacher. She graduated from the Architectural Association in 1984 with a GradDipl(AA) in Planning.
Born in Potchefstroom in 1933, Berrell graduated from Natal University in Durban with a BSc in Social Science. She had a number of jobs including librarian, laboratory assistant in a paint factory and public relations officer for Lever Brothers. While her husband, Anton Jensen was completing his Masters, she began making metal mobiles for sale. Known for her practical aptitude, perhaps inspired from childhood days spent at her father’s garage and repair shop, she studied welding and was soon creating large sculptures and panels created out of copper, bronze, silver and enamels. She organized her first exhibition in 1960 in Durban, Natal.
In the next eight years Berrell had nineteen exhibitions, seven of these as a solo artist. Her work was spotted by architects and she completed fourteen large-scale public commissions including fountains. Her mural in copper and bronze for the Jan Smuts International Airport V.I.P. lounge measured eighteen by four metres.
Berrell returned to Ireland in 1993, where she bought a 300-year-old Protestant church in Rochfortbridge, Co. Westmeath. She renovated the building, designating a large area as a metal studio. She began welding again, completing several commissions including for the Midland Health Board in Tullamore and the Tanyard Resource Centre in Offaly. The Dublin Corporation commissioned six metal screens, each 1.75 metres wide by 5.82 metres high for the entrance stairwells of the Marrowbone Lane Flats. This work she completed just prior to her first hip-replacement in 1996, at age 63.
She was a fervent environmentalist and in 2001 organised a County Westmeath environmental group objecting to a controversial planning application for a landfill site in the Killucan area. Her knowledge of local wild life, peat bog and wetlands helped prevent the dump proceeding.
Berrell settled in Co. Cork in 2003, where she put her boundless energy into gardening. She will be much missed for her humour, enthusiasm, determination, patience and loyalty. Berrell is survived by her daughter Sandra, a writer, her son Michael, an IT and communications consultant, and by her three grandchildren, Oliver, Hugh, and Lucia.
Dr. Ian MacBurnie BArch GradDipl(AA) PhD 1955-2015
The architect, urban planner and professor Dr Ian MacBurnie died last Sunday 13 September, aged 60 years old.
An AA Member for more than 25 years, MacBurnie was an associate professor in the Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University, Toronto where he was instrumental in founding the gradute programme there.
Canadian publication The Globe and Mail published this obituary on 18 September.
Derek Brampton, who died suddenly at his home in Kent on 31st August, will be remembered widely as London's best architectural bookseller.
Soon after starting the Triangle Bookshop in Kennington, London, he and Alan Young were persuaded by Alvin Boyarsky, legendary chairman of the AA from 1971 to his death in 1990, to re-locate to the newly refurbished basement of 36 Bedford Square. The business flourished as part of Boyarsky's vision of an alternative and dynamic Architectural Association. To enter Triangle's doors and browse the books was an essential part of time spent at the AA, made more pleasurable by Derek's informed intelligence, wit and great sympathy for the seeker of knowledge and inspiration. Most of the great names in architecture of this period would linger to chat and exchange gossip with Derek.
The shop closed in 2008 upon Derek and Alan's retirement. However those who knew Derek will remember him more for his great love of the arts, his early training and work in the London theatre, and his deep passion for painting to which he devoted most of his spare time, both at the easel and in visiting museums and exhibitions, always open to adventure.
His warmth, knowledge and spirit will be very much missed. He is survived by his husband and business partner Alan Young whom he met in 1969 and married last year
The celebrated architect and former AA staff member Jonathan Woolf has died aged 54. In this obituary originally printed in Architects' Journal Jonathan Sergison remembers his colleague and friend, with a preface by former AA Councillor Brendan Woods.
'Jonathan Woolf who taught with Philippe Barthelemy at the AA in the 90’s has died at the age of 54. One of their unit's end of year show consisted entirely of models in birch ply sitting on a birch ply table that took up the entire centre of the room. They were one of the inspired pairings of Moshen Mostavi who enjoyed creating extraordinary teaching partnerships.' - BW
‘In the distinguished new English movement of “invisible architecture” Jonathan is the sharpest and most spirited one. He stands for what I understand as English sophistication.’
These words by Valerio Olgiati underline the importance and status Jonathan Woolf had for many architects in Europe. His death last weekend has robbed British architecture of a special talent and I am struggling to come to terms with what this means at many levels.
Jonathan was an original thinker who resisted conformity and easy categorisation. The projects and buildings he created are imbued with ideas and an artistry that cannot be replicated.
Above all, I feel the loss of a loyal, kind and generous friend I had the pleasure and good fortune of knowing for 25 years and with whom I shared journeys through life and architecture.
His approach to life involved limitless humour. What would seem commonplace, ordinary or trivial to many, could be retold by Jonathan in a way that was extremely funny, revealing the comic and sometimes farcical aspects of the human condition. Something of this outlook found its way into his architecture – but one would need to look carefully.
Jonathan was born in London in 1961 and grew up in Hampstead Garden Suburb. He undertook his formal architectural education at the Kingston School of Architecture, where he was taught by Brendan Woods, Werner Kreis and David Dunster, among others. In fact Woods was so impressed with his degree portfolio that he instigated a prize for the best student, with Jonathan being the first recipient.
After working for Munkenbeck + Marshall among others, Jonathan opened his own architectural studio in 1991. He enjoyed early success, winning the Smithfield Market competition in Dublin (with Jonathan McDowell and Renato Benedetti) and an Italian furniture design competition.
Of the numerous projects he realised, many addressed questions of domesticity and notions of dwelling. Three projects stand out: the Brick Leaf House, Hampstead, 2003; the Painted House, Golders Green, 2009; and The Lost Villa, Nairobi, Kenya, 2014.
The Brick Leaf house came to represent what was perceived by many in mainland Europe as a ‘London architecture’; the Painted House is a radical remodelling of the English semi-detached house; and The Lost Villa is a plastic and topographic investigation constructed from local stone and intentionally suggesting timelessness; a sense that the house is an inhabited ruin. For these three great projects alone and their contribution to the discipline of architecture we should be grateful.
In addition to his work in practice, Jonathan was a gifted and inspirational teacher. Between 1995 and 1998 he taught at the Architectural Association with Philippe Barthélémy. In 2003 he was made professor of the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture, a position he held until 2007. Between 2007 and 2009 he was a guest professor at the Accademia di Mendrisio in Switzerland. More recently he taught at his former school in Kingston, which only a few weeks ago recognised his outstanding career as an educator and architect by awarding him an honorary doctorate.
Jonathan is survived by his wife Siobhan, two young daughters Olivia and Natalie, parents Ben and Josephine, sister Deborah, and by the many friends that have been touched by his exceptional personality."
Image: Brick Leaf House by Jonathan Woolf ArchitectsSource: Image by Helene Binet
The AA is saddened to hear of the death of architect Pilar Gonzalez Herraiz who passed away on 10 April 2015.
Pilar who graduated from the AA with a diploma in 1984, had a successful career as the co-director of Malaysia & Spain based practise Architron Design, which she set up with husband and fellow AA graduate Frank Lee-Huat Ling in 1994. A global lecturer, writer and academic, Gonzalez-Herraiz was an AA Member since 1996.
The AA is saddened to learn of the death of influential architect and teacher James Gowan, who died last friday aged 92.
Gowan, a Life Member of the AA and former AA Councillor, was a long time member of the academic staff at the AA, first teaching at the school in 1957.
His architectural career included early work with Lyons, Israel & Ellis, an infamous collaboration with fellow Scottih architect James Stirling from 1956-63 and later working independently on housing and hospital projects.
All are invited to the funeral at West London Cemetery on Thursday 25th June at 2.15, as well as the reception afterwards at James' house 2 Linden Gardens W2.
The Architect and Designer Bruce Martin passed away last month, aged 97.
Martin who graduated from the AA in 1946 with an AA Diploma with Honours was part of a team of post-war architects who designed pre-fabricated schools in Hertfordshire which included Mary Crowley, A.R. Garrod, W.D. Lacey, David Medd, Oliver Carey, Anthony Cox and WA Henderson.
He also designed the iconic 1968 K8 Telephone box, picture, of which 11,000 were installed across the country and 54 remain.
An oral history of Martin and his time at the AA was recorded in a conversation with Ed Bottoms (AA Archive) and Paffard Keating Clay (AA Dipl 1949) for the AAir radio station in 2009 - listen here radio.aaschool.ac.uk/thinking-about-a-new-world/
Martin is survived by his children Susan and Jonathan.
The Guardian Obituary
Photograph: Dominik Gigler
It is with great sadness that the Architectural Association report that the Czech architectural educator Dalibor Vesely died of heart attack yesterday on 31st March 2015.
A member of staff at the AA for many years, Vesely ran a Diploma Unit from 1973-83 and was a Complimentary studies Course tutor from 2003-9. He also served as an AA Councillor from 1984-7, and in 2013 was awarded Honorary Membership of the AA.
A full obituary will follow within coming weeks.
Image Credits: Dalibor Vesely at the AA Honorary Members Evening March 2013 by Valerie Bennett.
In this memorial, Richard Burton CBE of ABK remembers the architect and engineer Frei Otto and their collaborative work in what is now the AA’s Hooke Park campus in Dorset.
Otto, who died earlier this month aged 89, had recently been awarded the Pritzker Prize and was world renowned for his tensile & membrane structures, especially the 1972 Munch Olympic Stadium. He was awarded an Honorary AA Diploma in 2003 and became an Honorary AA Member in 2011.
"The AA owns the only two permanent examples of Frei Otto’s work in the UK: the workshop and the prototype house (now used as a refectory) at Hooke Park. These were designed by Frei, his daughter architect Christina, Ted Happold, Michael Dickson and myself at ABK. The prototype house was built by Bill Moorwood of ABK in one of the wettest summers in 1986. The campus now run by the AA carries on the ethos of Frei’s work by running the 16 month Design & Make course in which students design and then build their designs.
When I started working with Frei on Hooke Park he sent the team a hand drawn report on how to build with thinnings (young saplings that are removed to let the main tress grow well). This knowledge was gleamed partly from Frei’s first professor in Berlin, whose experience was in the use of the thinnings in 1945, and partly from Frie’s ability to match his highly imaginative approach to design with a practical application of detail.
As the designs for Hooke progressed, the jointing up of thinnings became a key subject which Frei and Ted Happold argued and discussed over 6 weeks. The options were either a bound joint, Frei’s preference which was tested with 75% transmission of forces, and an epoxy joint which Ted had designed and tested with 90% transmission. The choice was finally settled following a good dinner between the three of us, at which it was agreed to use the epoxy joint. This was formed by making a conical hole in the circular end of the thinning and filling it with epoxy into which metal fixing were cast. This both high-tech and low-tech solution liberated the huge potential in the use of thinnings at a very low cost, and now that we have had it under use for nearly thirty years, we know it works.
I see this story as an example of Frei’s ability to collaborate with others, and especially with that superb engineer Ted Happold who he worked with on many of his buildings, particularly in the Middle East. But also his willingness to support high tech solutions, and to use materials to their maximum potential, a principle he learned as a prisoner of war at 19 years old, when he was in charge of buildings in a vast POW camp in France.
The designs for Hooke Park vitally depended on the use of models, an essential in the process of design according to Frei, all of which are now preserved at Frei’s exhibition of models in Karlsruhe.
Frei was a practical designer with a vigorous imagination and a fine aesthetic sense. A genius who collaborated with other designers. Working with him was for me one of the best collaborations in my professional life and led onto a friendship I will miss.
It is fitting that the AA should now be a custodian of his work here in the UK."
Image: Protype House with (l-r) Richard Burton, John Makepeace and Frei Otto. Courtesy of the AA Photo Library