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Obituary: Sam Potts (1978 to 2011)

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Sam Potts, the co-founder of the Redundant Architects Recreation Association (RARA), was one of architecture‘s ‘shining young stars’ writes Alex Scott-Whitby

Potts, who passed away with his family by his side in Uganda early on Monday morning after a short battle with cancer, was a gentle and kind man.

He’s all too short life has meant that architecture has lost one of its shining young stars.

Having started his journey into architecture at the University of Brighton, Potts worked for AVL in Rotterdam, studied in Barcelona and was made redundant whilst working for Levitt Bernstein in 2008.

To many redundancy spells disaster, but to Potts it spelled opportunity. Potts once said: ‘Architects shouldn’t see redundancy as such a destructive event, but one of opportunity. We are blessed with the time to reconsider our roles and direction. Now is the perfect alibi to do something else’, and to this effect he set up The Redundant Architects Recreation Association (RARA); a flexible low rent workspace based in Clapton, East London.

In RARA, Potts has left architecture with something that really captures the zeitgeist of the emerging generation of young architects. Within a suburban industrial shed hidden down an unpromising back road is a space that allows creativity to flourish without constraint, and most importantly creates a place for a community of like minded people to meet, watch films, drink Ale and make things beautifully.

Potts’ joie de vivre meant that he was never short of friends and he touched all that came into contact with him. On one of his final days in London before heading home to Uganda Sam and RARA threw a great party. The atmosphere was celebratory and much Ale was drunk. At the end the crowd cheered as he leaned out of the window of his taxi and waved back.

Potts is survived by Shasta his wife and Sophia their 20-month old daughter. 

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