Headshot image courtesy of Malcolm Crowther
British architect Will Alsop recently passed away at the age of 70, leaving behind a legacy that encapsulated a variety of architectural styles throughout Britain and Canada. According to his studio’s website, all Design, Alsop’s core values were innovation, expression and originality with an emphasis on enjoyment, to ultimately “make life better” by designing individual buildings or spaces that embrace broader principles of urbanism and city development. To further this philosophy, he often used painting, writing and “playing” to further an understanding of design.
In cities like Toronto, London, and Hamburg, many projects completed by Alsop can be defined through colorful and striking details that both stood out and completed the surrounding community. Below we’ve listed several of his projects that emphasized his values.
North Greenwich, Finch West and Pioneer Village Stations
Alsop partnered with John Lyall and Jan Störmer in 1999 to complete the North Greenwich station of the London Underground. This station boasts a tiled interior with striking cobalt-blue columns, inspired by the design of Mass Transit Railway stations in Hong Kong.
The architect also had a hand in several stations “across the pond” in Toronto, Canada. While the Pioneer Village station features irregularly-shaped chandeliers and a dramatic outdoor canopy, the Finch West station is, by contrast, “a happy assemblage of brightly coloured glass panels,” according to Simon Lewsen of Azure Magazine.
Courtesy Jason Paris
Courtesy Mike Knell
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Alsop’s design for OCAD University’s Sharp Centre features a large checkerboard slab centered above a school building atop tilted, multi-colored pillars. The $42.5 million expansion and redevelopment received numerous awards, including the first Royal Institute of British Architects Worldwide Award, the award of excellence in the “Building in Context” category at the Toronto Architecture and Urban Design Awards, and further redefined the university and the surrounding neighborhood.
Opening in 2000, the Peckham Library in south-east London features pre-patinated copper and is shaped like an upside-down capital L. The top section of the structure, an elevated reading room expertly set above the noise of the street, is supported by slender steel pillars set at different angles. Winning the Stirling Prize for Architecture that year, Peckham Library was the project that heralded Alsop as an iconic architect.