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Lasdun: tributes pour in for inspiration to generations

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RIBA president Marco Goldschmied led the tributes to the late Sir Denys Lasdun (left) last week, describing him as 'an incredible influence over more than one generation of architects'.

Sir Denys, who died last Friday from pneumonia aged 86, was made famous by a string of large-scale projects including the University of East Anglia, high-rise housing in Hackney and the National Theatre. He continued to work well into his eighties and designed a major extension for Sir Tim Sainsbury's private house, which is due for completion next month. He also advised on the renovation of Keeling House, one of his Hackney tower blocks which has been remodelled as executive apartments by Munkenbeck & Marshall.

Despite Sir Denys' early association with key Modernist architects such as Berthold Lubetkin, his partner for the last 10 years, John Hurley, remembers him as an architect who could not be pigeonholed easily. 'He was not one of the mainstream and he ploughed his own furrow, ' Hurley said. 'He's a grave loss to me and it was his high standards which pushed us on. He didn't suffer fools gladly, of course, but he made me a better architect than I ever thought I could possibly be.

He left no stone unturned, from development design to the construction site.'

Munkenbeck & Marshall partner Alfred Munkenbeck said: 'There's a kind of heroism about his work in the big geometrical forms he worked with and his radicalism in looking at ways of housing people. Buildings like the Royal College of Physicians were in our text books at school but he's not just an architect of the past. After the Post-Modern era he has become a hero again because he never sold out.'

A private funeral is being held today and a memorial service is planned for later in the year.

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