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Visionary Olympic landscape architect John Hopkins dies

John Hopkins, who played a key role in the landscape design of the London 2012 Olympic Games, has died aged 59

Formerly a partner at LDA Design, he joined the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) in 2007 as the leading ‘sponsor’ for parklands and public realm.

The AJ’s sustainability editor Hattie Hartman remembers Hopkins as a visionary ‘in his understanding of the role of landscape’.

She said: ‘It was his vision and determination which put together the interdisciplinary team behind the Olympic Park. I had the privilege of several interviews with John while the park was under construction, including a foggy chilly December late afternoon where we were peering into the darkness as he described the new frog ponds in the north park.’

John Armitt, chairman of the ODA, said: ‘We are all shocked by the sad news of Hopkins’ passing. He was pivotal in shaping and then delivering our vision of an important new park transforming this part of London. So many people delighted in seeing the parklands and public open spaces last summer – which will now be an enduring legacy of John’s work. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this sad time.’

Hopkins was born in Liverpool, and studied at the University if Greenwich (then Thames Polytechnic).

He went onto work around ther globe in public and private practice in Malaysia, Australia and Hong Kong, before completing a master’s degree at Louisiana State University in 1986.

He joined LDA Design in 1998.

Hopkins died of natural causes at his home in West Philadelphia.

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A tribute from Neil Mattinson of LDA Design

The tragic news that John Hopkins passed away on 21 January 2013 has been received with great sadness and shock.  He was only aged 59. He leaves an impressive professional legacy and made many and wide ranging contributions to LDA Design that we wish to acknowledge.

John joined LDA Design in 1998 and became a partner in 2005. During this period he was able to demonstrate his wide range of skills and commitment to collaboration in some of LDA Design’s most notable projects.  These include the design and implementation of Warrington Town Centre, which won several national and regional awards including the RTPI and the Civic Trust, and the British Council for Shopping Centres’ national Environment Award; the Barking Riverside regeneration project; the Thames Gateway Parklands Project; the East London Green Grid and the Thames Gateway South Essex Green Grid, which won the Landscape Institute’s Award for Strategic Planning in 2006.  He also played his part in the continuing improvement of the Royal Parks over many years, including the delivery of the Sports Club area in Hyde Park.

John left LDA Design in March 2007 having been given the exceptional opportunity to join the Olympic Delivery Authority. Through his role as Project Sponsor for the Parklands and Public Realm for London 2012 he was a key protagonist in its delivery, and championed the improvement of the Park’s design to the very highest standard, from concept to detail.  As designers of the Olympic Park with Hargreaves Associates, LDA Design had the great privilege of working closely with John, now in his role as client.   Throughout the evolution of this amazing project to its culmination his support and commitment were a vital part of the success of the Park.

John’s intellectual and inspirational approach to Landscape Architecture and his rare and special talent in communicating his ideas will be remembered by all who knew him.  The partners and staff at LDA Design, past and present, are fortunate to have had the privilege to listen to his thought provoking presentations and ideas.  His commitment to the environmental ethic is evident in the many articles, books, poetry and music he wrote or collaborated on, including working with both established and emerging artists. We are fortunate to have this legacy of his ideas and passionate beliefs and, of course, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and accompanying recently published book on the making of the park that John co-authored with Peter Neal.  It is a great sadness that his next book on environmental politics and ecological economics will not be completed by him.   

We remember John as a colleague, a client and most of all a very good friend.  He will be sadly missed.

 

 

 

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