Will Alsop 1947-2018

Will Alsop 1947-2018

I spent 16 years working with Will from early 1990 just after he beat Norman Foster to win the largest commission of his career the Hotel du Department des Bouche du Rhône,  a project I was lucky to work on and eventually run for 4 years.

In my opinion Will was the most creative architect of his generation unfortunately at a time when our industry became increasingly safe and commercial “polite modernism/modernists” was one of the less rude quotes Will used to describe the architect perpetrators and their work. Most of the great and the good came in for a lashing from his tongue at some point in time.

The fearful plenitude that in response labeled him “a boutique charlatan” should be ashamed of themselves as probably should he for fanning the flames of controversy for no good reason save for a bit of pointed fun with his mate Bruce McLean

“Fuck Kensington and Chelsea” a famous live one liner broadcast at the Stirling Prize presentation when he won with Peckham Library was testament to his frustration with the industry and lack of opportunities at home.

Will was a social architect and a master at engaging with the public on his “big architecture” projects more commonly known as master plans or now more politely “frameworks”

He taught me the enormously important lesson that “you don’t need a client to have a good idea”.

He was always painting, writing and drawing something special.

Our SPARK studios owe their inception to the man I loved for many years until things between us became difficult. Fortunately, the damage was cordially repaired a few years ago.

My last communication with him was December 12th 2017, his 70th birthday, I said happy birthday he responded drily “one more” it was his last.

The Alsop class of 1990 of will miss him, all gone our own separate ways were touched for a short time by his genius, humanity and ability to make endless instant architectural models out of a pack of Bensons and a lighter.

Now off for a spot of death with a bottle of Bandol.

Safe travels Will from all of us


Will and Stephen on site in Marseille 1993