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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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