Architect Will Alsop dies aged 70

British architect Will Alsop, “one of architecture’s biggest characters and talents”, has died at the age of 70 after a short illness.

Alsop, the founder of architecture firm All Design, died in hospital yesterday, Saturday 12 May 2018.

The architect was known for his colourful, expressive and playful designs. Among his best-known buildings is the Peckham Library, which was awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Stirling Prize in 2000. His other projects in the UK include The Public arts building in West Bromwich, which caused controversy over its running costs, and the Chips residential building in Manchester.

In recent years, Alsop completed a number of projects abroad, like the Gao Yang development in China featuring a four-storey hanging restaurant, and Toronto’s Ontario College of Art and Design, which is raised on stilts that resemble large pencils.

As the news of his passing emerged, members of the architecture and design community have taken to social media to offer condolences.

Architect Charles Holland tweeted: “I think Will’s work invigorated and energised British architecture and challenged it’s more tedious tendencies towards piousness. His buildings were formally bold, thoroughly audacious and huge fun.”

While both Archiboo founder Amanda Baillieu and designer Adam Nathaniel Furman expressed regrets that Alsop wasn’t able to complete more buildings on home soil.

“Will Alsop dies and so does one of architecture’s biggest characters and talents, never properly appreciated in UK,” tweeted Baillieu.

Furman echoed this rhetoric on Twitter: “So incredibly sad to hear of Will Alsop’s passing, one of our great creative spirits. It has recently been fashionable to ridicule his work, I hope there can be pause from the easy snarking now to reflect on a career that very much enriched our architectural culture.”

“He should have been able to build much more here in the UK…”, added the designer in a second tweet.

Alsop, who was born 12 December 1947 and studied at London’s Architectural Association, launched his first firm in 1981 with former classmate then-partner John Lyall. He then quit a few years later and went on to join international firm RMJM in 2009, before founding All Design in 2011.

The UK studio is run from east London, with two more offices located in Doha, Qatar, and Chongqing, China. In a 2015 interview with Dezeen, Alsop said that China offered more opportunities for ideas-driven architecture projects in comparison to the UK.

The British architect also served as Professor of Architecture at University for the Creative Arts’ Canterbury School of Architecture in Kent.

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