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Foster pays tribute to 'deeply talented' colleague Nigel Curry


Norman Foster has led tributes to his former colleague Nigel Curry who died aged 48 from Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma last month

The Foster and Partners founder praised Curry’s ‘deep talents’ and ‘quiet and unassuming modesty’, describing him as a unique ‘gifted individual’ and ‘dedicated team player.’

Foster said the former associate partner ‘lived on’ in the practice’s Welsh Botanic Gardens and the ‘soaring roof’ over the Great Court of the British Museum.

Ken Shuttleworth, who left Fosters to set up Make in 2004, said: ‘Nigel was a gifted architect, his work on the National Botanic Garden of Wales Great Glasshouse is a fitting tribute to his talent and calm, simple approach to design.’

Paul Simms, Make partner and former Foster + Partners employee, said: ‘I will always remember Nigel’s intense enthusiasm for projects and his infectious humour. A tragic loss.’

Curry graduated with distinction from the University of Sheffield and worked at ORMS and Hopkins Architects before joining Foster + Partners in 1993.

His projects included the Basic Medical Sciences laboratory at Imperial College London, the National Botanic Garden of Wales and the British Museum’s Great Court roof. He left Fosters in 2009.

Curry is survived by his wife Helen who is also an architect formerly of the practice.

Norman Foster’s tribute to Nigel Curry

I would like to pay a personal tribute to Nigel.  He made huge contributions to the work of our practice and he lives on, not only in the architecture and landscape of the Welsh Botanic Gardens – to which he was particularly close – but amongst others, in the soaring roof over the Great Court of the British Museum.

He brought a keen eye, an intellectual curiosity and great technical skills to all of the projects that he touched.  He was that unusual combination of a gifted individual and a true, dedicated team player.

His deep talents and insights were matched by a quiet and unassuming modesty.  I write this looking at a group photograph taken in the Great Court, where he stands on the right, alone, but also an integral part of the team

He could not know at the time that he would go on to be one of these very rare architects who would fulfil a personal passion for architecture by designing and building a home for Helen and himself.  Even more, he succeeded in making it an essay in sustainability.

I only just heard from Narinder that he was a kindred spirit in his love of cycling and I was moved to hear how he had the bicycle on rollers in his room at the hospital

I write this from afar – the Lake District and the village of Barton is a long way from the streets of New York’s Manhattan.  But as I put these thoughts and memories on paper I feel close to those of you who gather together to mourn the loss of Nigel and to celebrate his memory and achievements.

Norman Foster, 29 November 2012


Readers' comments (2)

  • I would like to pay my sincere personal respects to Nigel and his family at this very sad time.
    I interviewed Nigel and offered him the position to join the team for the new opera house at Glyndebourne. Nigel graduated from Sheffield University with a distinction, as I had done some 6 years earlier, so we shared some common ground. I will forever remember his extraordinary thesis project which was so well crafted and thought-through in such meticulous detail.
    He was a very gifted architect and member of the team and his work on the complex detail of the opera house flytower and stage showed exceptional promise for the future.
    Nigel left Michael Hopkins and Partners in 1993, as I did to set-up my own practice,
    and it was no surprise that he joined Norman Foster and Partners and made such an
    important contribution.
    As I sit putting together my talk on Garsington Opera House for this evening my thoughts are with his family on their tragic loss and also on the loss to the profession of Nigel’s talents.

    Robin Snell, 5th December 2012

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  • Nigel was an unassuming problem solver and a team player, a natural mediator in this complex world of ours. He began his career with us at Hopkins on the Glyndebourne project, an incredibly complex assignment , that he made look so simple. His later career simply confirmed his immense humane brand of professionalism.
    I'm bewildered at this loss and my thoughts are with his family.
    Arif Mehmood, Dubai,7th Dec 2012

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