Nick Hanika 1954-2002
If one had to choose a single monument to celebrate Nick Hanika's career it would probably be the MCC's Indoor Cricket School at Lord's. Designed with David Morley Architects and Max Fordham & Partners, it combined three of Nick's passions - architecture, engineering and sport. It was also an excellent example of what can be achieved when architects and engineers work closely together, which was something that Nick really cared about.
The roof of the cricket school, in particular, was the result of a piece of interdisciplinary design, based on an initial suggestion from Fordham, in which the control of daylighting, its influence on the structure, and its expression as architecture, produced a beautiful and very energy-efficient solution.
Nick graduated from Sheffield University in 1975, and joined Ove Arup & Partners, starting in the London office and then spending two years in Riyadh. He returned to Arup Associates, where he joined a group designing a large new building for DEC, gaining invaluable experience of working side by side with architects, engineers and surveyors in what was then the most truly multidisciplinary practice in the country.
In 1980 he became the first employee of the fledgling practice of Price & Myers, then barely two years old. This was a bold step into a very different world from Arup and its multinational clients - most of the Price & Myers' projects at that time being alterations to old buildings, quite small, and for private individuals. Nick thoroughly enjoyed the sense of personal responsibility to client and architect that is less often so acutely felt in large teams.
In 1982 the partnership was reformed, and Nick became a partner at the age of 28.
The size and the architectural importance of his projects increased steadily from that time on, but he never lost his enthusiasm for the smaller jobs, or for working with small firms of architects. He was a great champion of new young practices, and enjoyed being challenged by new ideas from new architects. He enjoyed teaching, and in the past 10 years gave lectures and helped in the studios from time to time at the AA, the Bartlett, De Montfort and the RCA.
He worked with some of the most interesting and imaginative architects in the country.
With Tony Fretton he designed several buildings for the arts, including the Lisson Gallery in 1990; with David Morley, he did cricket schools, at Lord's in 1995, and at Edgbaston in 1999; with architecture plb he did two awardwinning buildings for Winchester School of Art in 1999; and at the time of his death he was working with Allies & Morrison, John McAslan, Panter Hudspith and Penoyre & Prasad on a variety of interesting projects.
Some of these were for Derwent Valley Holdings - one of Nick's most loyal clients - which has transformed the conventional view of tired old buildings in London with a string of exceptional refurbishments. For them Nick was also working with Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, ORMS and Squire and Partners. Nick also had a special interest and pleasure in working with sculptors, and helped with several pieces by, among others, Richard Deacon and Anish Kapoor.
Nick was an enthusiastic squash player, and, until a few weeks before his death, could beat anyone in the office; he ran in the London Marathon, and played five-a-side football. He always kept himself fit, often running and cycling to work from his home in West Hampstead. It is very difficult to come to terms with the thought that someone so physically strong could go so suddenly. He will be enormously missed by his many colleagues.
In place of flowers, Nick Hanika's family has asked for donations to be sent to either Médecins Sans Frontières, 124-132 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1R 5DJ, or Cancer Research UK, 61 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PX.