World-famous Northampton architect Will Alsop dies, aged 70

A renowned architect from Northampton who won world acclaim for his bright, avant-garde designs and once saw his plans for a  "cultural mile" in the town turned down on the grounds of expense has passed away.

Monday, 14th May 2018, 6:37 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:24 am
Architect Will Alsop has sadly passed away, aged 70.
Architect Will Alsop has sadly passed away, aged 70.

Will Alsop knew he was going to be an architect from the age of five when he presented his mother with a drawing of the house he wanted her to live in.

The 1947-born Northamptonian grew up in Park Avenue North, Abington, and went on to become one of world's best-known building designers, winning the 2000 Stirling Prize for his bright green L-shaped Peckham Library.

His sometimes controversial works included the oval-fronted Cardiff bay visitors' centre and the Sharp Centre for Design in Ontario, Canada.

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Will Alsop's twin sister says her brother was "the life of any party."

But not all of his ideas came to fruition.

He famously proposed turning Barnsley into a Tuscan hill town and flooding the centre of Bradford with a huge lake.

In Northampton, the architect, who went to Eaglehurst College and was heavily influenced by his art school tutor Henry Bird, saw his proposals to create a cultural mile in Northampton's turned down on the grounds they would have been too expensive.

His designs included a series of bridges between the River Nene and Southbridge.

The architect won the Stirling Prize in 2000 for the L-shaped Peckham Library.

But having fallen ill in December, Mr Alsop, sadly passed away last week.

Paying tribute to him, his twin sister Sue Moore-Thompson, said his sudden passing at the age of 70 has been a shock.

"He was an avant-garde person," she said.

"He lived life to the full. He worked hard and he played hard.

"He liked his wine, he liked his cigarettes - he was always the first person to get the party started.

"I just think people adored him."

Mrs Moore-Thompson, who worked for the county chamber of commerce and still lives in Abington, said some found her brother's art "difficult to understand."

"But he always had a vision," she added.

"He just loved life and loved designing."

In 2013 Mr Alsop hit out at the plans for Northamptonshire County Council's new headquarters, One Angel Square.

Speaking to the Chron at the time, he said: "They’re dull proposals, there’s no doubt about that. I teach architecture as well as practise it and if any of my students produced any of these designs I would have a serious word with them.”

Father of three Mr Alsop, leaves behind three children, Piers, Oliver and Nancy.