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Richard horden web

Richard horden web

Micro-home pioneer Richard Horden dies aged 73

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Architect and pioneer of the micro-home Richard Horden has died, aged 73

The chairman of Horden Cherry Lee Architects (HCL), famously designed the Ski Haus in 1996, which was delivered to the Alps by helicopter and used by mountaineering and rescue teams.

He also trialled construction of 2m-high cubic apartments as far back as 2005 and went on to teach micro-architecture at the Technical University in Munich.

Born on Boxing Day 1944, Horden attended Bryanston School in Dorset before learning his profession at the Architectural Association in London.

After touring the US in the late 1960s on a scholarship, he worked for high-profile architects including Terry Farrell, Nicholas Grimshaw and Norman Foster before establishing his own practice in 1985.

HCL Architects was founded in 1999 by Horden with Stephen Cherry and Billie Lee.

The practice has carried out several notable projects including a refurbishment of Poole Museum in Dorset in 2007 and, working with Aedas, a £500 million replacement for Robin Hood Gardens estate in east London.

A trial village using HCL’s £35,000 ‘Micro-Compact Homes’ was created in Munich in 2005. Horden’s book, Micro Architecture was published by Thames and Hudson in 2008.

The architect also worked on the 127m-tall Glasgow Tower, part of the Glasgow Science Centre complex next to the River Clyde, which completed in 2001 and is understood to be the tallest self supporting structure in Scotland. 

Horden is survived by his children Poppy and Christian, his sister Char and his partner Rita. His wife Kathy died in 1998.

His funeral and burial service will take place at 3pm today (12 October) at All Saints Church, Branksome Park, Dorset. A reception will be held afterwards at The Royal Motor Yacht Club, 54 Panorama Rd, Poole.

The family have chosen the Forest Holme Charity for donations, where Richard was so well cared for. Donations can be made online at www.cpjfield.co.uk

Letters of condolence to Horden Cherry Lee Architects, 36-38 Berkeley Square, London, W1J 5AE.

Tribute from engineer Tony Hunt 

Richard was one of my closest friends. We worked together as architect and engineer, we skied together and we sailed together. He was an unbelievably talented designer in the widest sense of the word and what I would call visionary with amazing drawing skills. Richard and I met in 1984 when he was still working at Foster Associates on the Sainsbury Centre, which was also one of my projects.

His late wife Kathy and my former wife Diana were close friends and Poppy is Diana’s goddaughter. In 1985 he’d set up the office Richard Horden Associates with projects that include The Queen’s Stand Epsom, St Mark’s Hospital London and others. In 1995 he was appointed professor of architecture at the Technical University Munich, where he pioneered the microarchitecture teaching program for lightweight, mobile and ecological building design.

In 1999, he formed Horden Cherry Lee Architects with Stephen Cherry and Billie Lee and they have since completed many projects and are presently working with the Canary Wharf Group completing the Newfoundland residential tower.

I particularly remember his passion for precision: the hard-edged steel columns that he insisted upon (very difficult to achieve), his all-white interiors to his houses and his minimal palette of clothing colours, namely navy blue and white.

His ideas as a designer were wide-ranging early on, a house designed for his parents in Poole, which 40 years on is a classic example of elegant minimalist architecture. It is unbelievable and very sad that such a talented man should die at the height of his prime.

I know that his children Poppy and Christian, his sister Char, his partner Rita and his business partners Stephen and Billie, my wife Hélène and I and a whole lot of his friends are very sad to find that he is not around anymore, he will be greatly missed. 

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