Bon dies, aged 88
Christoph Bon, one of the three founders of Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, died on 21 October at the age of 88. Born in St.Gallen in Switzerland in 1921, Bon studied at the ETH in Zurich during the War. After a brief spell working for Holford in London in 1946, he spent two years in Milan. In 1949 he took up a teaching post in Kingston where he befriended Joe Chamberlin and Geoffry Powell. In 1952 they won the Golden Lane competition, and in 15 January 1953 the AJ named them as 'Men of the Year'. Bon listed his interests at the time as 'eating, drinking, reading thrillers . . . and architecture.' In 1955, the practice started work on a feasibility study for the bombed site to the south of Golden Lane.Thus began the Barbican saga, the biggest single urban redevelopment project in post-war Britain.
The practice attracted a broad portfolio of work and produced some of the most memorable and spirited buildings of the period, including a college for New Hall, Cambridge and the master plan for Leeds University.
Critical acclaim was often muted: their mannered modernism was too rich for the palates of mainstream modernists.
And yet when the tide turned against reductionist modernism, their work was branded as brutal. The partnership attracted no new major projects after 1970. Bon and Powell retired in 1985 and the practice was eventually merged with Austin-Smith: Lord.
After Chamberlin's death, Bon and his widow Jean threw themselves into a project to promote the work of the Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa and were responsible for organising the 1986 RIBA exhibition of his architecture. In 1991 Bon published Lunuganga , a photographic celebration of Bawa's garden.The book offers lasting proof of his meticulous craftsmanship and eye for detail.