With the recent passing of revered British architect Will Alsop (1947-2018), the international community has lost a towering figure in the world of avant garde design and surrealist architecture. Known for his penchant for whimsical designs, often built over and above the voice of his more conservative critics, Alsop's long list of triumphs are today found in every corner of the world.
Remembered for his larger than life persona, and mischievous temperament, Alsop broke into the spotlight in the early 1990s, with a series of high profile projects in his native Britain. These include the short-lived Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre in Wales (1991-2010), and the Peckham Library in London (2000), the latter serving to catapult Alsop to international acclaim.
Viewed above, one of Alsop's early creations, in the form of the tubular Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre in Wales, made a stir at the time of completion owing to its then radical design and unusual realization, especially for the construction of as utilitarian of a project as a visitor centre. By the early 2000s, however, Alsop's signature whimsy was beginning to catch on, as evidenced by his Stirling Prize-winning design for the "floating" Peckham Library in London (below) which has remained popular since its debut.
Cantilevered and supported in large part by a collection of wayward stilts, the Peckham Library was most certainly a primer for Alsop's magnificent 2004 addition to the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) in Toronto (pictured earlier), for the highly-celebrated Sharp Centre for Design.
More recently, as seen in the image above, the 2009 Chips Building in Manchester, located along the Ashton Canal, brought a modern industrial aesthetic to urban living, the stacked apartment block today a fixture of the always evolving Manchester skyline.
A memorable character in more ways than one, Will Alsop will be remembered for his daring designs and love of the unusual, his surrealist legacy one which will be impossible to replace.