Day 84/365 of Steel – Chris Wilkinson

Christopher John Wilkinson (1 July 1945 – 14 December 2021) was a British architect and co-founder of the architecture firm WilkinsonEyre. He was known for his techno-centric designs and execution of projects ranging from office spaces, factory floors, skyscrapers to botanical gardens.

Stratford Market Depot
Fig 1: Stratford Market Depot

Wilkinson partnered with Jim Eyre in 1987 to form WilkinsonEyre. Their first major work was the design for the Stratford Market Depot on the London Underground’s Jubilee line extension. The project included maintenance facilities, office spaces, and other related facilities, and was built as a large steel structure with a long arc supported by steel columns, in what would later go on to become a hallmark of the duo’s designs.

Stratford Market Depot
Fig 2: Stratford Market Depot
© Dennis Gilbert

The work was documented in his book Supersheds and revived interest in the concept of an “universal space” which included steel space-frames that held suspended canopies and would be the foundation for many structures including railway stations, supermarkets, and even airports.

Wilkinson’s 2001 work on the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham, won the firm a RIBA Stirling Prize. The work was considered a post-industrial design aiming to reimagine huge and redundant steelworks within large industrial buildings.

Mary Rose Museum
Fig 3: Mary Rose Museum
©Richard Chivers

Similarly, his work on the Gateshead Millennium Bridge across the Tyne, had two giant parabolic arcs, one for pedestrian movement and the other supporting it and rotating on an axis is considered an icon of the region’s riverside regeneration program. The firm won their second Stirling prize in 2002 for this work, making it the only firm to win the award in back-to-back years.

One Barangaroo by WilkinsonEyre in Sydney
Fig 4: One Barangaroo by WilkinsonEyre in Sydney
© Tom Roe

More recently, WilkinsonEyre were also commissioned to redevelop the Battersea Power Station into an mixed office, retail, and residential space. The project is expected to open in 2022 and include Apple’s UK headquarters amongst others.

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