More than 300 people attended the memorial event for Nick Hanika of Price & Myers at the RIBA in London last week. There were boards commemorating his engineering and sporting prowess (he was a triathlete and fearsome squash player). Most charming and idiosyncratic was a series of stick-man drawings from Sarah Wigglesworth and Jeremy Till, detailing how he helped them realise the vision of their strawbale house. Fearful that he would laugh at their unorthodox choice of materials, they found instead that he encouraged them to push their ideas even further. Speeches were compered wittily by Tom Taylor, project manager of Buro 4.
Paul Williams of Derwent Valley said that, while many saw Hanika as the ideal architect's engineer, he thought of him as a developer's engineer - he often forgot to send in his invoice. Oliver Richards of ORMS recalled how, in his quiet way, Hanika had decided opinions about architecture and could be a ferocious critic. He would say: 'You can achieve that if you want to, but do you really want to do it?'
He would then go on to suggest a, usually better, alternative. Bob Allies said: 'Nick helped us to realise not entirely rational ideas.'
He recalled that Hanika was not always unassuming. At the party to celebrate the start of work at dance centre The Place, Hanika seized a pickaxe and eagerly started the demolition work. The affection of friends and colleagues was demonstrated not only in the high turnout but in the fact that so far more than £10,000 has been donated to the two charities nominated by Hanika's family, Médecin sans Frontiéres and Cancer Research UK.