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Groak should be alasting influence

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letters

Derek Sugden's well-tuned tribute to Steven Groak last week conveys why Steven deserves to be one of the strongest influences on how we think about architecture: the range and depth of his intellect and interests and his ability to synthesise them.

Steven was equally able to discuss the efficacy of neoprene gaskets or Schiller's reflections on naive and sentimental poetry; in one scintillating lecture he used concepts about each to interpret the other. He could even channel his sense of humour and frustration into organisational method. Some years ago he was best man at the wedding of David Dunster and Charlotte Myhrum. We were staying in the same house and one morning I came down to find him ostensibly working on his speech but surrounded by torn fragments of paper. 'I find it useful,' he explained, 'every so often to put my thoughts into a random pattern before re-assembling them,' adding in reply to my bemused look, 'It's a well-known problem-solving technique.'

Diligence to his tasks, generosity to his friends and acquaintances, creative thinking drawing on a deep well of knowledge, and a quick wit were just some of his hallmarks.

JEREMY MELVIN

London SE1

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