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Goodbye to an architect who will be sorely missed

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Letters

It is with sadness and anger that I write to tell your readers that Kim Grant, one of the most talented graduates of her year at the Polytechnic of Central London (1982), has met a premature, violent death at the age of 41. Kim gave up the ghost on Tuesday 2 July, in the intensive care unit of King's College Hospital.

Kim Grant was a fighter all her life, and until this last tragic battle she had won. She was working class, the daughter of a greengrocer, and had demonstrated early promise by winning a place at an exclusive grammar school, where she excelled in physics and maths.

At PCL her strong scientific bent was manifest in the supreme elegance of her structural resolutions to the most intractable problems. But what was so striking, to a fellow student like me, was the way she immediately took on and comprehended the artistic and literary sensibility which overwhelmingly directed teaching during that period, one of PCL's golden eras.

Kim Grant was the only person I have ever met whose design aptitude flowed utterly uninhibited from her fingertips.

She was literally a born designer.

It affected everything she touched, from her glamorous sense of personal style which perilously, but successfully, involved knocking up ball dresses a couple of hours before making an entrance, to her rigorous and instinctive feeling for construction. Kim's work was outstanding - and that in a year which contained such future architectural luminaries as Alex de Rijke, Alan Dunlop, Brendan O'Neil and Joe Hagan.

Sadly, shortly after graduating, Kim's first love met with an untimely death. Kim carried on illuminating everyone round her with her indomitable courage and zest for life. In her own very successful one-woman practice, she worked on the sensitive reconstruction of period houses, using her ingenuity and flair to delight and ease numerous domestic lives. She was able to work very closely with developers and builders, using her imaginative capacity to truly understand the significance of other players within the industry. She had recently started to research the systematic abuse of asbestos by building firms and its effects on the workforce.

Her lack of architectural exclusiveness was another sign of her originality. Kim Grant was her own, and her best, creation, and it is the presence of that creation that her friends and the profession have now been so brutally denied. She leaves an adored daughter, Leonie, to whom the hearts of all who loved and admired Kim go out.

Katherine Shonfield, London N1

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