Day 248/365 of Steel – William Allen Alsop

William Allen Alsop (12 December 1947 – 12 May 2018) was a British architect. He was responsible for several distinctive and controversial modernist buildings which are usually distinguished by their use of bright colours and unusual avant-garde forms. In 2000, Alsop won the Stirling Prize, the most prestigious architecture award in the United Kingdom, for the Peckham Library in London.

Sharp Centre for Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design
Fig 1: Sharp Centre for Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design
Image Courtesy of aLL Design

Alsop’s first major commission was a swimming pool for Sheringham in Norfolk in 1984, followed by a visitor centre for Cardiff Bay. Thereafter he worked on a number of projects in Germany, including the Hamburg Ferry Terminal.

Sharp Centre for Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design
Fig 2: Sharp Centre for Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design
Photo: Taxiarchos228,

In 1992, Alsop came first, against competitor Norman Foster, in the competition to design the Hôtel du département des Bouches-du-Rhône In Marseille, France. The building is now considered a major work of late 20th century architecture and a Marseille landmark, nicknamed Le Grand Bleu.

Peckham Library
Fig 3: Peckham Library
Photo: © Rod Coyne

Alsop’s architectural heroes were Le Corbusier, Sir John Soane, John Vanbrugh and Mies van der Rohe. His avant-garde, modernist buildings are usually distinguished by their vibrant use of bright colour and unusual forms.

International Cruise Terminal of Shanghai
Fig 4: International Cruise Terminal of Shanghai
Photo: 沉の墨

Alsop’s architectural talents may be the subject of controversy, but he built up an international reputation and a degree of celebrity and professional recognition, described by the Observer as “number three in the hierarchy of British architects after Lords Rogers and Foster”. 

In April 2007, The Observer commented that Alsop’s approach to architecture could broadly be defined by his statement: “I like people. I hope it shows”.

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

You May Also Like

Day 19/365 of Steel – The Gherkin

On the 28th of April 2004, The Gherkin was officially inaugurated. Norman Foster (architect) and Ove Arup (engineering) created a true masterpiece in skyscraper engineering. The Gherkin is an example…
Read More

Day 2/365 of Steel – Roy Hofheinz

Roy Hofheinz was born on the 10th of april 1912. As co-owner of HSA (Houston Sports Association) he was the driving force behind the construction of the famous Astrodome. The…
Read More

Day 29/365 of Steel – Menashe Kadishman

Menashe Kadishman (21/8/1932 – 8/5/2015) I discovered Kadishman’s work during our visit to the Jewish Museum in Berlin.The Memory Void, one of the symbolic spaces on the ground level of…
Read More