The man behind the famous Peckham Library, Will Alsop (1947 - 2018) died at the age of 70 on May 12.
Winner of the 2000 Stirling Prize, Alsop was known for his bold and colorful designs. The architect remained in the headlines of the architectural world for his brash designs. His practice was deeply influenced by British visionary Cedric Price, whose “wacky yet progressive style can be seen in Alsop’s work throughout his 45-year career,” noted ArchDaily.
Alsop was keen to make his buildings appear to be levitating. An outstanding example is his black-and-white extension of the Ontario College of Art and Design, which stands on colored poles and looks like a “flying Dalmatian,” stated The Guardian. In an interview, he had said: “If I were a politician, I would make a law in every city that everything from the ground to 10 metres and higher should float and not touch the ground …The ground should be given to people and gardens, not buildings,” as quoted by The Guardian.
The architect was also a keen painter and would take a month off every summer to paint. “One of the reasons for painting is that you are not really in control of what you are doing,” he had said, “and that interests me a lot. Instead of having a specific starting point, which perhaps, in architectural terms, would lead through to a series of logical thoughts working towards a designed building, you can start anywhere.”
Alsop would often ignore financial practicalities in his fascination for bold and wacky ideas. His critics called him “a reckless pied piper, duping desperate mayors of struggling cities into commissioning madcap schemes they could never hope to build,” noted The Guardian. However, that did not deter the eccentric self-styled architect to model his buildings on Prada skirts and Marge Simpson’s hairdo. “Architects are the only profession that actually deal in joy and delight,” said Alsop. “All the others deal in doom and gloom,” quoted The Guardian.
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