Architectural visualisation pioneer and architect Alan Hayes Davidson has died, aged 58
The founder of Hayes Davidson, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2012, passed away on Tuesday, surrounded by family and friends.
Davidson trained as an architect in Edinburgh before moving to London in 1986 where he worked with the Richard Rogers Partnership before founding the CGI studio Hayes Davidson in 1989.
An accomplished perspectivist, Davidson has been credited with using early 3D modelling software to pioneer computer-generated architectural visualisation in the UK.
Davidson’s client base included many of the UK’s best-known architects, including Zaha Hadid, Chris Wilkinson, Richard Rogers, Norman Foster, David Marks, Julia Barfield and Future Systems.
In 1994 he pioneered verified imaging for planning, and in 1996 he designed and grew Hayes Davidson’s London studio, from which it has developed an international client base of world-class designers and architects.
Paying tribute to Davidson, William Matthews, of William Matthews Associates, recalled his studio’s visualisation work for the Shard.
‘Without Alan I sometimes wonder whether we would have built the Shard. The images his team produced were instrumental in winning the public inquiry: they were perfect. At the time Hayes Davidson were in a league of their own and Alan was the pioneer for an emerging profession.
‘Delivered in a charming soft Scottish brogue, his determination to produce only the very best images was striking. The attention to detail, driven by Alan, was extraordinary.’
Following his 2012 diagnosis of motor neurone disease, Davidson continued to work as a director and trustee of Hayes Davidson as well as leading the Alan Davidson Foundation, which supports MND care and research, and art and architectural scholarships.
1, hayes davidson, tate modern by herzog & de meuron, london, circa 1995
Ivan Harbour, senior partner, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners Alan was so much part of our team in Hammersmith in his early pioneering days, working out of his hardware-stuffed living room in Chiswick. He was exceptional with his pencil but rather than railing against an emerging technology he embraced it and used his considerable skills and artistic eye to establish himself at the forefront of a discipline that we now take for granted. Visiting his practice in Paddington felt like home; a talented extended family that worked and played hard together; what parties! Alan could not only do, but also mentor, lead and entertain; always upbeat he was a true Renaissance man.
Troy Hodgson, art director, Darcstudio Alan was a pioneer in our industry, one of the first – and certainly one of the best. Not only talented, but he was also super kind and genuine. I was a stranger to him, but on more that a couple of occasions in the early days of Darcstudio he picked up the phone to me to offer his support and experience; a subtle but powerful gesture which has had a lasting impact on myself and our studio. His visceral understanding of imagery has no doubt had a profound effect on our built environment, and his visionary approach to representation rendered out the early skyline of our industry. He’ll be very sadly missed.
Alex York, partner, Recent Spaces In the arch-viz world, the name Alan Davidson is very familiar, and for good reason. Alan’s pioneering vision for and dedication to this ever-evolving art form has affected and inspired us all in some way over the years, and most visualisers in the UK have been part of the Hayes Davidson family at some point in their lives, either as a colleague, collaborator or friend of the studio. Both Recent Spaces co-founders Iain and Alex had the privilege of starting their careers at Hayes Davidson, where they found their passion for the industry under his guidance. He will be sorely missed by us all.