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New Year honours go to McAslan and Open-City founder

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John McAslan and Open-City founder Victoria Thornton have been recognised by the Queen for their contribution to architecture

The 57-year-old founder of John McAslan and Partners was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours list in recognition for his services to architecture.

McAslan – who designed the new UK embassy in Algiers – was the only practising architect among the scores of celebrities, politicians and ‘community heroes’ receiving honours this year.

McAslan said: ‘Since establishing John McAslan + Partners 15 years ago, I have been driven by a belief in the power of architecture to improve people’s lives.  And so in this context I am honoured that my contribution to architecture has been recognised in this way.

‘I am of course hugely indebted to my family, friends and colleagues for their support along the way.’

Thornton – who founded Open-City, the organisation behind London’s annual Open-House event – received an Order of the British Empire (OBE) following more than two decades working in architecture and architectural education. She received an RIBA honorary fellowship in 2005.

Thornton said: ‘This is great for the organisation as it shows the importance and worth of what we are doing especially in terms of educating future generations in the value of architecture and the role it plays in their everyday lives.’

Film-maker and former Channel 4 director William Alexander Murray Grigor was also awarded an OBE for services to architecture and the film industry. Grigor’s 1968 documentary focusing on Charles Rennie Mackintosh won five international awards and has been credited with re-establishing the Scottish architect’s formidable reputation.

His 1972 Space and light documentary looking at Gillespie, Kidd and Coia’s now abandoned St. Peter’s Seminary in Cardross featured alongside a 2009 ‘revisited’ version of the video during 2010’s Venice Biennale.

Jonathan Paul Ive, Apple senior vice-president of design, was elevated to a Knight Commander of the same Order (KBE) in recognition of his services to design and enterprise.

Ive, 45, who was appointed CBE in 2006, spent the past 15 years designing products for Apple including the iPod, iPad, iPhone and iMac.

Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic said Ive had ‘done a lot to make Apple as successful as it has been’, describing him as ‘the designer who helped us stop worrying about technology and start to love it.’

Lord Mayor of London Michael Bear was knighted for his service to regeneration, charity and the City of London. Bear is member of the Chartered Surveyors’ and Engineers’ Companies and was chief executive of the Spitalfields Development Group. He said: ‘I hope I have made a small contribution to showing how construction, engineering and finance can work together to regenerate cities and build the infrastructure of development.’

Olympic Delivery Authority chairman John Armitt also received a knighthood.

Other winners include Barbara Hulanicki – founder of 1960s fashion outlet Biba – and Oxford University church history professor Diarmaid Macculloch. Women received 43 per cent of this year’s awards.


Read the full New Year Honours List




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