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British Library designer Colin St John Wilson dies aged 85

One of the most influential figures in British architecture, Colin St John Wilson, the man behind the British Library, has died.

Wilson, known throughout his life as Sandy, leaves behind one of the most striking legacies in UK architecture, including the British Library in Euston, London and his 1960s classic Granchester Road house in Cambridge, in which he lived for many years.

Born in 1922 in Cheltenham, Wilson was accepted into Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 1940, where he read architecture after switching from his original choice of history. He was appointed as the university's professor of architecture in 1975, a post he held for 14 years.

Despite a swathe of important buildings, including Harvey Court and Caius College, Cambridge (with Leslie Martin), and an extension to the school of architecture at Cambridge, Wilson will be predominantly remembered for his design of the British Library, which he began in 1962. It was finally completed in 1997.

As well as architecture, Wilson's other passion in life was art. Not only a practising artist, Wilson also amassed one of the most important private modern art collections in Britain. He donated it to the new Pallant House Gallery in Chichester - which he designed in collaboration with Long & Kentish - last year.

Wilson, who died aged 85, is survived by his wife Mary Jane Long and by his son and daughter.

A full obituary of Sandy Wilson will appear in next week's AJ.

by Max Thompson

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