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JOHN EDWARDS 1938-2005

OBITUARY

John Edwards, who died in a car accident with his wife Allison on 12 August, was the 'anchorman' of Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects (PTE) - the practice he co-founded in 1974.

Best known for the New Concordia Wharf regeneration scheme in London's Docklands, he was born in Llandaff and brought up in rural South Wales during the Second World War.

He studied architecture at the Liverpool University School from 1957 to 1962 and went on to ply his trade at the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works.

He then teamed up with Tom Hancock and Dean Hawkes and subsequently formed a partnership with Rolf Rothermel and Valerie Cook, before setting up PTE with Roger Pollard and Bill Thomas.

Thanks to the Camden and Notting Hill housing trusts, the new practice secured a number of social- housing schemes and Edwards' early work focused on the 'rehabilitation' and conversion of Victorian terraced houses.

For the first 10 years all the partners worked in the same room and Edwards was ahead of his time with ideas about workplace democracy and equal opportunities.

He disliked bureaucracy intensely, though he took it on as a necessary evil and dealt with much of the legal and administrative side of running the firm.

Among the many projects he directed personally, such as a housing project in the Middle East and a giant rooftile factory scheme, the most celebrated example of Edwards' work is New Concordia Wharf at Bermondsey.

The building was the first in the UK to win the Europa Nostra Award and landed other accolades from the Civic Trust and the RICS. Lauded by the whole spectrum of architectural commentary, from Prince Charles to The Architectural Review, it still stands out as an exemplar in how to regenerate redundant buildings.

Edwards retired from practice in 1990 and moved with his Australian wife to Wales, where he immersed himself in the environmental and ecological issues affecting the countryside. He restored their house and transformed nearly 16ha of 'derelict' wood into deciduous forest.

He also became deeply involved in the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales and, in July this year, was elected as its chairman.

Edwards was also an accomplished craftsman, potter, silversmith, joiner and blacksmith. PTE co-founder Bill Thomas said: 'John's understanding of how things are made was expressed in his great attention to detail.' Fellow PTE co-founder Roger Pollard said: 'He was our friend, the one in the middle.

He was assertive but shy; fiery but unruffled. His temperament was aloof, because he was shy;

but his shyness was always a tool that he used to some thoughtful and useful purpose.

'He provided stability like an outrigger in heavy weather and inspiration in calm seas.

'His life was full, complex, and thoughtful, ' Pollard added.

'Now that it is ended and considered, those who knew him can say it was not in any way wasted.'

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