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
The AA is sad to report that AA student and teacher Professor Ranulph Glanville died of cancer on the 20th December 2014. This obituary was written by AA Head of Computing, Julia Frazer who was his student in her first year at the AA in 1972.
Ranulph was an architect, cybernetician, design researcher, theorist, educator, prolific writer, musician, artist, chef and bon viveur – that is until the end of the 80s when he had to stop drinking. His formidable intellect and breadth of knowledge were legendary. He was a deeply serious intellectual who also knew how to play the fool. His musical compositions were taken sufficiently seriously to be played by Olivier Messiaen and known to Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage. He was also extremely knowledgeable about certain aspects of Architecture and for example he gave radio talks for the Open University on Alvar Aalto (Ranulph typically learned to speak Finnish) and he wrote a seminal essay about Aalto for the Makers of Modern Culture.
He was born in 1946 of Anglo-Irish descent and enjoyed a liberal Froebel Kindergarten, then Bryanston School and the Architectural Association (1964-1971) where his contemporaries included Leon van Schaik, Grahame Shane, Stephen Gage, Robin Evans, Dick Bunt, Oliver Freeman and John Frazer. He went on to be awarded two PhDs by Brunel University first in Cybernetics 1975 and then Human Learning 1987. Brunel awarded him the highest degree of DSc in Cybernetics and Design 2006.
His most important contribution was in cybernetics and in particular to bringing a unique form of architectural thinking to the development of what is known as second order cybernetics where the observer is fully involved in the system feedback loop – a very AA way of thinking. He played a very significant role in this notoriously arcane field being a close associate of key figures like Heinz von Foerster and Gordon Pask. Ranulph triumphed as President of the American Society for Cybernetics from 2008-2014 and he was the first European to be elected to this prestigious position.
His other International posts and professorships were extensive and included: First year AA unit master from 1971 to 78, lecturer at Portsmouth Polytechnic 1978 to 96. He was appointed Professor of Research in Innovation Design Engineering at the RCA and later as Professor of Research Design at LUCA in Belgium.
On a personal note Ranulph was an inspirational teacher who eased me in my first year at the AA from my first degree in Mathematics into the world of architecture forming a bridge for me through our shared love of music and art. We also shared a love for fine wine and we would bid together at Sotheby’s. What a wonderful introduction for a student! Ranulph became a close friend and was best man at my wedding to John. He visited us in Ireland and went on to teach for John in Hong Kong and Australia. He visited us to say goodbye just two weeks before his death and was still talking enthusiastically and animatedly about the world of ideas.
He leaves his partner Aartje Hulstein and son Severi from his marriage to his first wife Tuulikki Leskinen. He also leaves a massive legacy of papers in the domains of architecture and cybernetics and many very loyal and grateful students and friends.
Image: Ranulph (left) with Leon Van Schaik, courtesy of AA Photolibrary
Note from the Archives: Ranulph's archive of papers has been donated to the University of Vienna, where they will sit alongside those of both Gordon Pask and Heinz von Foerster. The AA Archives, have been permitted to scan and make available on its online catalogue Ranulph's architectural drawings and material created whilst studying and teaching at the AA. These are expected to be available online later in 2015
Anthony Harrison AADipl(Hons) RIBA 1938 - 2013
The AA is saddened to hear of the death of architect Anthony Harrison who passed away in November 2013.
An AA Diploma Honours student who graduated in 1962, Harrison worked extensively in Africa following his graduation in the countries of Nigeria, Tunisia and Uganda. He returned to the UK in 1974, where he set up his own practise, Harrison Sutton Partnership in Totnes, Devon.
The family of the architect, Tyler Jonathan Martiné, who passed away in May this year wished to forward on the following message to the AA community, in celebration of his life.
"Born in Chicago, Illinois to Thomas Richard Martiné and Kathie Jean Bolin, Tyler was the beloved husband of Jennifer and father of Quentin Carter Martiné. Tyler was a successful architect with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP and previously with WRNS Studio, designing commercial and residential buildings locally and internationally.
He achieved his undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Kansas, and attained his Masters degree at the prestigious Architectural Association School of Architecture in the AADRL programme, graduating in 2005. Tyler was a member of the American Institute of Architects. He had a passion for golf, enjoyed camping, traveling, and preparing and enjoying terrific food with his wife Jennifer. He also loved spending time with his 3 year old son Quentin, reading books and playing ball."
A memorial service for Tyler was held in Almada, California on May 17.
Donations may be sent to the Tyler Martiné Memorial Fund, Account Number 191275620101, C/O Bank of Marin, 2130 Otis Drive, Alameda, CA 94501.
Online condolences may be offered at
The following obituary was written by the family of the deceased diplomat and architect Alfred Wells to be shared with AA community.
"Alfred Wells, born in White Plains, NY, always wanted to become an architect but thought that law and diplomacy were more proper careers. It wasn’t until 1966, when he retired after 25 years in the US Foreign Service, that he began his lifelong career dream and graduated in 1970 from The Architectural Association (AA) with two degrees in tropical architecture and in urban planning. He went on to work on several continents over the next thirty years.
While studying law at Yale in the 1930s, Wells treasured his classes about architecture and kept detailed notes. He entered the Foreign Service in 1941 and served in Buenos Aires, Colombo, Paris, Rangoon, Vienna, Bremen, Bonn and London. In Rangoon, he lived in a houseboat that he himself built. When in Vienna, he built a small wooden house for his daughter Gully and then had the whole structure dismantled, shipped to Mt. Riga, near Salisbury, Connecticut, and rebuilt for her. Wherever he went, he took dozens of photos of churches, façades, pagodas, statues and other beauties of architecture. In his last post, at the US Embassy on Grosvenor Square in London, he served as executive assistant to Ambassador David Bruce. During that period Wells, picking up information at cocktails, warned the ambassador about the Profumo affair before it became public.
When in Paris in 1949, he married Dee Wells, who later became author of bestseller novel “Jane.” In 1960, he subsequently married Melissa Wells, who served as ambassador to several African countries and Estonia. He would go on to do architectural work in several of the countries where she was posted.
Upon retirement in 1966, Wells began studying at The AA in London. He was 50 years old, in class with much younger colleagues who had very strong opinions about the war in Vietnam. At one point, his friends convinced him to go to a protest in front of the US Embassy, where his wife was working that day, but he quietly slipped out while the students clashed with the police.
The first structure that he built, as an AA student, was a wooden cube to serve as a vacation home for the family in Carriacou, an island belonging to Grenada. He tested the structure by asking his AA student friends to help set up the cube in Brompton Square, much to the puzzlement of the neighbors. The cube was permanently built in Carriacou, survived several hurricanes but was blown away by US Marines in 1983 when they invaded the island. The Department of Defense reimbursed Wells for the lost cube, in probably the only such case for an AA project.
In 1969, he published his first work on architecture in the AA Quarterly, about low-cost housing in Casablanca. Upon moving to Washington, DC, in 1971 he worked for Doxiadis Associates (2 years), John Portman Associates (3 years) and for Habitat in Haiti. In 1978, he was a senior planner in the New York City Economic Development Administration. From 1980 to 1981, Wells worked as a consultant to United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on housing for UN employees in the poorest countries of Africa and Asia, where rent can be high and quality housing scarce. In 1989, he did a study for the Mozambican government to determine the correct value for compensating owners of traditional caniço homes in Maputo, as part of projects in the capital. In 2001, at the age of 85 and with free time on his hands as Melissa served as ambassador to Estonia, he wrote a guide on the many manor houses that litter that lovely country. The guide is one of the most popular tourist books about Estonia and is available on Amazon.com.
He applied his skills to motor vehicles as well. In 1968, he adapted a VW Kombi so that the family of four could sleep in it and cook. The family would often sleep on the weekends in the fields of England and France, and cook their own breakfast. They also took the Kombi to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. In 1981, he adapted a Toyota Hilux to the same effect, so that the family could move overland from the posting in Nairobi to Geneva, via the Sudan and Egypt. The two-month trip through the Sudan was the best trip the family has ever taken.
In the seventies, he built a spacious two-story treehouse in Mt. Riga, Connecticut and a proper vacation house in Carriacou, both of which survived hurricanes without need of repair. In the eighties, he refurbished a 200-year-old manor house, La Tour, in Cessy, France, just outside of Geneva. The former owner of La Tour sold it to the Wellses under the condition that they would not change the outside aspects of the property. Starting in 1969 all the way until 2005, he constantly worked on a home in the small town of Agulo, on the island of La Gomera, in the Canaries, where the couple would live after Melissa retired. Alfred and Melissa were the first couple in the US diplomatic corps who both exercised full diplomatic careers.
Wells is survived by Melissa, who lives in Agulo, and their sons Christopher and Gregory, and his daughter Gully."
The following obituary was written by Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners and has been forwarded onto the AA Community by the family of Amarjit Kalsi:
"Architect and longstanding director at Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners (RSHP) who played an influential role in Lloyd’s of London, the Millennium Dome and Heathrow Terminal 5.
Amarjit Kalsi, known as Amo to friends and colleagues, was an architect who enjoyed a distinguished 33-year career working with Richard Rogers. A rare talent, he became a director at Richard Rogers Partnership (RRP) in 1988 at the young age of 30, stepping down in 2011 to become a Senior Consultant.
Born in May 1957 in Nairobi, Kenya, Amo’s family moved to Britain when he was still a young boy, settling first in Forest Gate, East London and then later moving West across the capital. Amo attended the local State school in Plaistow where he demonstrated great passion and skill for technical drawing, a talent that singled him out amongst his peers and led to his enrolment at The Architectural Association (AA) in 1975. Having completed his Part 1 studies a year early, Amo’s exquisite drawing style caught the eye during a work placement at RRP under the guidance of Frank Peacock and John Young in the late 1970s, and having returned to his studies at The AA, he qualified with an AA Diploma (with Honours) in 1981 and was offered a full-time role.
Over the course of more than three decades, Amo worked with Rogers and other key members of the practice on some of its most prestigious projects including the now Grade I listed Lloyd’s of London building in The City, the Millennium Dome in Greenwich, the European Court of Human Rights building in Strasbourg and the Stirling Prize-winning Barajas Airport in Madrid. At RRP, which became Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners in 2007, Amo inspired awe and respect in generations of young architects, including current Partners Graham Stirk and Ivan Harbour, proving to be an inspirational mentor who led by example and stirred the imagination of others. His guidance and creative mind will be forever evident at Heathrow Terminal 5 where his encouragement was not just restricted to his own practice but extended to every architect and engineer participating in the project.
He struck up a particularly successful partnership with desk-mate Ivan Harbour that would last some 27 years, together developing a lyrical architectural shorthand that has left its mark on cities across the Europe from London to Monte Carlo and Strasbourg to Bordeaux. Other notable projects included a series of bus shelters and street furniture for Adshel and Cemusa, and a design for a lighting system for the Italian company Reggiani. His most recent work included taking charge of two new subway stations in Naples, Italy: Capodichino at Naples Airport and Santa Maria Del Pianto, both designed as major transport hubs.
Aloof and confident, Amo possessed all the qualities of a great architect including the all important ‘magic touch’. His draughtsmanship was extraordinary, elevating technical drawing to an artform despite an unconventional habit of using only one thickness of ‘Rotring’ pen, which he argued lent clarity and simplicity to the representation. The result was always a thing of beauty that evoked feeling and imbued meaning as much as it informed. A man of few but always poignant words, Amo had the ability to express the spirit of a building in a single sketch or drawing and even his signature, calligraphic and showman-like, encapsulated this coolness and command of architectural language and detail. His persistence with pen and parallel motion despite the rise and rise of computer-aided design has ensured a unique legacy of drawings as artworks that stand as testament to his enigmatic intellect and personality.
A romantic idealist at heart, Amo ‘the constant’ was never phased by the inevitable ups and downs of large scale architectural projects and his singular spirit, marked by an infectious enthusiasm for his work, permeated the studio. Unflappable, he always had a wry observation or commentary on the process, and was uniquely capable of offering both constructive critique and ingenious solutions to problems met along the way. As this reputation grew, Amo’s career saw him appointed as a judge for the 1998 RIBA Awards as jury chairman for the North and Yorkshire regions, and from the late 1990s onwards he appeared as a guest speaker at various events including the RIBA Architecture and Built Environment Lecture in Sheffield in 2008, the Corus Lecture in Liverpool in 2008 and annually at Pennsylvania University in the US.
Affable and fond of fine dining, Amo ‘the food snob’ was the one to ensure everyone enjoyed the very best Choucroute and Confit de Canard on work trips abroad. Back at base in London, the same foodie tendencies led him to determine where the practice ate out; be it the Haweli, the Lahori Karahi or elsewhere, there was only ever one restaurant of the moment good enough to be patronised by Amo and his dutiful followers.
Outside of his work, he was a keen supporter of the Indian Gymkhana cricket and football club in Osterley, West London, and always talked fondly and enthusiastically about his family. He is survived by his wife, Gurjeet, who he married in 1982, and by their four daughters.
Amarjit Kalsi, architect, was born on 30 May 1957. He died on 26 August 2014, aged 57."
Image: Amarjit Kalsi at work in the RSHP office.
The relatives of Sir Philip Dowson, a former student of the AA and Member since 1949, have contacted the Architectural Association with the following obituary, which they wished be forwarded onto the AA community:
"It is with deep regret that the family announce the death of Sir Philip Dowson CBE PRA RIBA in the early hours of August 22, 2014.
Sir Philip Dowson was one of Britain’s most important architects. Educated at Gresham's School, Norfolk, he spent a year reading mathematics at University College, Oxford, before joining the Royal Navy during the Second World War and serving in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres. He returned to study Art History at Clare College, Cambridge, from 1947 to 1950, and then trained at the Architectural Association.
He joined the engineering firm Ove Arup and Partners in 1953 as an architect and in 1963, with Ove Arup, Ronald Hobbs and Derek Sugden, became a founding partner and later chief architect of Arup Associates. Composed of an innovative and collaborative team of influential architects, engineers and quantity surveyors, Arup Associates' approach to design was rational, scientific, and based on a belief that the function of a building, the nature of the materials used and the necessary methods of construction should form the basis of design.
Among numerous awards and honours, Sir Philip Dowson was made a CBE in 1969, and received a Knighthood in 1980. He was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 1979 and two years later was awarded the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture. He was President of the Royal Academy of Arts from 1993 to 1999.
He is survived by his wife, Lady Sarah Dowson MBE, his son, two daughters, and six grandchildren. The funeral is to be private, and a memorial service will be announced at a future date."
Former AA President Sir Michael Hopkins has also written this obituary, Remembering Sir Philip Dowson PRA, for the Royal Academy
Sir Philip's achievements are also featured in the following articles:
Telegraph feature on 50 Years of Arup Associates
Sir Philip Dowson on Radio 4's Last Word (available til September 2015)
The architect Sir Richard MacCormac, has died aged 75 following a long illness on 28 July 2014. Working for over 50 years & founder of MJP Architects, he was described by the practise's current managing director Jeremy Estop as 'an architect's architect' - he also served as President of RIBA 1991-93, chair of the Royal Academy RA’s Architecture Committee and the RA Forum, and was a Member of the AA from 1996 to 2007.
Before forming MJP in 1972, MacCormac had attended Westminster School, Trinity College, Cambridge and The Bartlett where he would go on to teach. He also designed social housing for the influential practise Lyons, Israel, Ellis, and Gray in the 1960s.
Architecturally he will be remembered for his numerous & memorable collegiate buildings at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the Phoenix regeneration in Coventry, Southwark Tube Station, the Dana Centre at the Science Museum and for a prolonged controversy with the BBC over his designs for the renovation of Broadcasting House that ended acrimoniously in 2005.
MacCormac was famous for his great character and spoke often at the AA as a Visiting Lecturer, most recently in 2003 with painter Antoni Malinowski and composer Michael Nyman. Knighted in 2001, he was the long time partner of the late writer Jocasta Innes and is survived by a son from his first marriage.
The Membership Office has learnt that Architect and Urban Designer Andrew Mahaddie (AADipl 1963) passed away 8 April 2014. Andrew was a Member of the AA throughout his career and became a Life Member in 2012. His wife Clare Mahaddie has kindly sent us this obituary of her late husband:
ANDREW (BO) MAHADDIE AA Dip, M Urb Des.
Andrew Mahaddie (latterly known as Bo) died unexpectedly after a short illness on 8th April 2014.
I met Bo in the first year studio at the AA in 1958 as did many of the friends who were at his memorial event in Campbell Park, Milton Keynes last May.
Although he could and did design buildings, Bo’s outstanding skills lay in design at larger (and smaller) scales and his ability to produce inspirational images and explain complex ideas in graphic form
The AA course encouraged his interest in planning and landscape design and after graduating in 1963 he studied Urban Design at Washington University, St Louis, worked for EDAW in LA and spent a year with SOM’s Urban Design Concept team in Washington DC.
Back in the UK, he was recruited to Milton Keynes Development Corporation in 1970. His joyful and exciting images of the future city did much to promote the project. He also created several major landscape features including the Belvedere, a dramatic landmark in Campbell Park made from road construction spoil.
Later he taught at the Bartlett and at the South Bank Poly. He also spent time teaching at UCL and USC in Los Angeles, which he much enjoyed.
Subsequently at Conran Roche and then in his 18 years at YRM, he developed the masterplans for many small new towns, hospitals and university campuses in the UK and abroad, most recently in India, his favourite location.
Brian Henderson DA(Edin) FRIBA FCSD 1928-2014
Former Past President and close friend of the AA Brian Henderson, who was instrumental in securing scholarships and bursaries for AA students, passed away last Thursday 19th June aged 85. Brian graduated from Edinburgh University and obtained a year-long placement with Basil Spence & Partners in 1950, working on designs for the Festival of Britain. He subsequently joined the firm of Yorke, Rosenberg & Mardall (YRM) in London, rising to senior partner and eventually chairman of the firm. Within YRM, Brian was in charge of the original buildings for Manchester and Gatwick airports, and smaller projects like the refurbishment of the Michelin Building for Paul Hamlyn and Terence Conran. His most challenging project came in the 1980s, with the design for the Sizewell B nuclear power station in Suffolk, the subject of the largest public inquiry ever seen in the UK. This coincided with the period he served on the AA Council, from 1983, and he was elected AA President in 1987, the same year that construction began at Sizewell B.
Under his Presidency, the AA Council introduced a concept Brian had seen at American universities – the AA Foundation was set up as a separate charity from the AA, with responsibility for safeguarding donations received towards AA scholarships and bursaries. A fundraising campaign for this purpose was carried out in 1988-89. Brian twisted a few arms, persuading people he knew well to become Trustees of the Foundation – his lifelong friend and partner at YRM, David Allford, Lord Alistair McAlpine, Harry Cobb and Alan Leibowitz amongst them – and he attracted many others as donors to the Foundation. After retiring from the AA Council in 1991, Brian continued to support the AA Foundation as a Trustee, and became Chairman of the Trustees from 1999 to 2010, when many of the existing named AA scholarship and bursary funds were established.
A lover of jazz, food and fine wines, Brian certainly knew how to enjoy life to the full, and will be remembered by many partying into the early hours at the Groucho Club after a late night at Ronnie Scotts. A favourite hangover cure of his is still mixed by Soho bartenders as a Dr Henderson. Business, and much else in Brian’s life, took place over lunches that invariably lasted into the late afternoon. His generosity and humour made these legendary – in fact, one of the more contested lots at a charity auction at the Groucho Club, featuring contributions by the likes of Tracy Emin and Sarah Lucas, was ‘Lunch with Brian Henderson’. But in contrast to his social life, Brian himself was more than anywhere at home in Wiltshire, with Elizabeth and the family, or in the most remote of locations in the Outer Hebrides, where he spent long summers with family and close friends.
Eternally positive, Brian claimed he was only challenged during the Sizewell B inquiry by his then 13-year old son Fergus, who threatened to get his schoolmates to picket the YRM offices. This is of course the same Fergus Henderson who later studied at the AA, and on his last day of studies announced his decision to become a chef. Brian’s response was “that’s fine son, but ensure you become the best” – and he did. Brian was rightly proud of Fergus’s achievements and rise to international fame, as well as those of his daughter Annabel who has followed his footsteps as an architect. In recognition of his lifelong contribution to the AA, Brian Henderson was made an Honorary Member of the AA in 2009.
Giampietro Parboni Arquati died in Davos, Switzerland, on 3 January 2014 of a brain tumour. Giampietro joined the AA in 1977, having completed a first year at Rome University, which at the time was troubled by student unrest. He joined Mike Davies and Alan Stanton’s Unit, who had just returned to London following work on the Centre Georges Pompidou. Giampietro had learned English during the preceding summer in Cambridge, where he met his wife Silvia. The unit system was a true culture shock but one which he took on with typical commitment and dedication, joining Zaha Hadid’s Unit in his final year and graduating in 1982.
After a brief spell working for Greenhill Jenner Architects in London, he chose to make his own way in Switzerland. He married Silvia and headed for Locarno to join the studio of Livio Vacchini. Very happy and professionally fulfilling times followed, as he set up his own practice in Locarno in 1985, subsequently moving to Lugano in 1990, where he completed numerous projects including private houses, apartment buildings and competition entries. From 2002 to 2008 he was responsible for projects in Astana, Kazakstan, including a hospital and the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2009 he worked on a large project near Caracas, a riverfront mixed-use complex for a hotel and apartment buildings.
Giampietro’s illness was first diagnosed in January 2010 and he made an almost full recovery returning to work a year later. In 2012 he sought a quieter life and with Silvia decided to move to the ski resort of Davos. They had settled for less than a month when Giampietro was commissioned what was to be his last project, the refurbishment of an important local hotel. Although he was still convalescing he took on the challenge with great enthusiasm and ensured that the complex renovation was completed on time. Unfortunately the tumour returned in 2013 and he spent many months in and out in hospital. He passed away shortly after the New Year.
All that knew him will remember and miss his fine humour, his smile, his welcoming and outgoing character always interested in hearing one’s news. He addressed his illness with great optimism, never ceasing to enjoy and embrace life. Shortly before he died he said: I would do it all again exactly in the same way!
Obituary written by Luigi Beltrandi AA Alumnus & Partner at CZWG Architects
Written by Peter Salter, former AA Unit Master & AA Dipl(Hons) 1980
"David’s relationship with the AA spanned more than 45 years. That period saw David pass from the white shirted environment of the Barrel Vault drawing office, as a student between 1950–1955, to become a member of the so-called ‘Gang of Four ‘ who deputized as Chairman during the interregnum year following Alvin Boyarsky’s death in 1990. David undertook virtually every role in the AA. Within the School he will be particularly remembered as a Unit Master in both Intermediate and Diploma Schools.
David came to the AA after completing his National Service. Post–War Britain was a heady place for students and young assistants. Neave Brown, his contemporary and closest friend, writes of those destined to be architectural assistants and architects “coming from the schools committed to the idea that British architecture, generally sad and provincial, needed a dose of vigour and a theoretical basis for work.” The idea of strong strategies for design that formulated detail, which Neave describes as “diagrammatic clarity, formal poise and active and economical architecture” stayed with David throughout his career as practitioner and teacher. What he taught was what he believed in and what underpinned his architecture. His student cohort included Kenneth Frampton, Neave Brown, Patrick Hodgkinson and Adrian Gale. Some fellow students were to meet again in the practice of Lyons Israel and Ellis (later Gray). Regarded for its “conviction and positive presence …the office was renowned as a training ground for James Stirling, James Gowan, Alan Colquhoun, John Miller, David Gray, Christopher Dean and Richard McCormack”, many of whom were to go on to become major theorists and teachers as well as architects, setting up a reciprocity of ideas between practice and education.
David started work at Lyons Israel and Ellis in 1957, became a partner in 1970, and continued until the practice closed in 1984. Perhaps his most admired work, and indeed the one he was most proud of, was the National Sea Training School in Gravesend Kent. As a project, it carries some of the familiar ideas of the practice: the frame, the repetition of components, the expression of functional elements, and the clarity of circulation.
With the appointment of Alvin Boyarsky in 1972 and the development of the unit system, David started to teach with David Shalev. The “two Davids “, as they were known, taught what they practiced: forms of modernism. Subsequently, David went on to teach with Neave Brown, an influential local authority housing architect for Camden. In 1982 David started to teach with Kisa Kawakami, also from Camden Architecture Department. Their prospectus for the year’s work was always site specific, detailed and precise, relating mainly to shoreline sites and often post industrial in character. Grounded in maps and beautiful card site models, the student work was recorded by David in exquisite and tiny pencil strategies, drawn for his records in a surveyor’s notebook. Looking back at the End of Year Project Review for 1987-88, it seems that the students in his unit were largely divided between those that went on to teach and those that became his friends, though the roles were not mutually exclusive.
It was at the End of Year Diploma Committee tables that I first met him. In a scene sometimes tantamount to gladiatorial combat, David was always completely fair, generous and mild mannered, looking for a body of work to support. Alvin Boyarsky recognized David’s measured response to the student portfolio and appointed him tutor in charge of External Students, as successor to Ron Herron and David Greene. The students in his care were for one reason or another in need of more time to complete their work. David was careful that such students had the opportunity to develop their talent and ideas.
In recognition of his continued support for the school over so many years, as student and much valued teacher, David was awarded an Honorary Membership of the AA on 5th March 2013, coming out of hospital to receive the award."
Lord Alistair McAlpine, who served as Chairman of the AA Foundation Trustees from 1989 to 1994 died on 17 January 2014 aged 71. For a glimpse of the colourful life of this truly eccentric English gentleman a fitting obituary has been written here: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jan/19/lord-mcalpine-of-west-green
The AA was saddened to learn of the death of the much loved and admired Scottish architect Kathryn Findlay who passed away last Friday, 10 January.
Having studied at the AA from 1972 to 1979, graduating with a AA Diploma, Findlay formed the architectural practice Ushida Findlay in Tokyo in 1986 with her then husband Eisaku Ushida. There they found recognition with a series of idiosyncratic and inventive buildings such as the Truss Wall House (1993) and Soft and Hairy House (1994).
The practice relocated to the UK in 1999, with Findlay as Principal Director, working on notable projects such as the RIBA Nominated Grafton New Hall (2002) and Pool House 2 (2009).
Her most famous project came in 2012 when she worked as delivery architect for Anish Kapoor's monumental ArcelorMittal Orbit for the London Olympics. She was also made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) on the 11 September 2013.
Tragically it was announced just hours before her death last week that Kathryn had been awarded the 2014 Jane Drew Prize ‘for her outstanding contribution to the status of women in architecture’. Please click here for further details from the AJ website.
An obituary written by the sons of Colin Anthony Kirby Pain in memory of their late father, a Hampton Wick resident for nearly 60 years, who died suddenly and sadly on 24th January 2013 aged 84.
"Colin was born in Royal Tunbridge Wells in 1928 and was one of 2 sons of the local Lloyds Bank Manager. A respected architect, he trained at the Architectural Association in London, where his studies were postponed while serving in the Royal Medical Corps. His first job was with the private practice of Moiret + Wood and then Robin Boger after which he entered public service and moved to the Housing Division of the London County Council. Later he worked under the inspirational Donald Gibson at Army Works in Chessington, a section of the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works followed by a spell with Air Force Works. The Ministry of Works became part of the Department of the Environment’s Property Services Agency where Colin rose to be the Director of New Works for London Region with a team of 500 staff. He was given the responsibility of caring for the Government's 14,000 buildings, including the Palaces of Kew, St James, Kensington, Hampton Court, Windsor and Buckingham Palace, all the museums, all the government offices, unemployment benefit offices, married quarters and administering all the external arrangements for Royal and foreign dignitary visits and celebrations (Jubilee etc.). Amongst an enormous workload he oversaw the Clore extension to the Tate Gallery and then later was instrumental in delivering the beautiful Sainsbury Wing extension to the National Gallery after Prince Charles’ famous quote relating to a previous proposal “a carbuncle on the face of a much loved friend.” He was responsible for the refurbishment of the Cabinet War rooms and was swiftly at Hampton Court Palace to oversee the securing, fire-‐fighting and restoration works required by the fire on Easter Monday in 1986 where he escorted the Queen and members of the Royal Family around the still smouldering remains. He retired in 1988 and was replaced by two people on the same salary!
He will also be remembered for his dedication to Hampton Wick. He was a founder member of the Hampton Wick Association in 1962 established originally to oppose a flyover extension to the Kingston one way system which would have destroyed half the village and chaired the Association for many years. In 1977 he and his wife Mu recreated the Victorian festival Chestnut Sunday which takes part on the Sunday closest to May 11th each year (co-incidentally also Colin’s birthday) and he has attended every year since - wearing his Victorian top hat. He is a member of the friends of Home and Bushy Parks and helped man the information desk in the Pheasantry Welcome Centre. He was also a local historian and often gave talks on the History of Hampton Wick and was a strong supporter of the recently formed Hampton Wick History Group. In 2007 he was awarded a Community Award by Richmond Council for Voluntary Service for outstanding services to volunteering in Richmond Borough.
Amongst all this he had various hobbies. He was an amateur cinematographer (favouring his beloved standard 8) and cartoonist. He won many awards for his films at the Whitehall Cine club, SERIAC and the IACs top ten as well as internationally. He was also fascinated with magic lanterns and often put on shows with magic lantern slides and was an active member of the Magic Lantern Society.
With his beloved wife Mu (who sadly died in 2000) he helped form the Thameswick Players Amateur Dramatic Group and used his architectural expertise to build incredible stage sets. He acted once but much preferred to be behind the scenes.
Above all of these activities he will be remembered as a loving family man. A great husband to Mu, a brother to Barrie and a wonderful father to Richard, Michael and David and Grandfather to Jon, James, Ben , Emma, Hannah, Jessica and Ellie. "
Photo: Colin (left) with friend and fellow student Sandy Miller on the roof of the 7 Bedford Square (then owned by the AA), October 1948.