MacCormac, Richard


MacCormac, Richard
   b. 1938
   Architect
   Richard MacCormac trained at Cambridge and then University College before working for Powell and Moya, Lyons Israel Ellis and the London Borough of Merton. He founded MacCormac Jamieson in 1972, three years after starting in private practice. He is in essence a modernist, even though his buildings differ from the more brutal work of his contemporaries and employ natural and traditional materials. His principal work includes university buildings at Cambridge, Oxford and Bristol, housing projects at Duffryn, South Wales and Milton Keynes, and the redevelopment of Spitalfields Market in London. His latest highly praised building is the impressive Ruskin Library at Lancaster University, opened in mid-1998. An architect of international standing, MacCormac has a keen interest in urban design and architectural theory. He has held a number of prominent positions including chairing architectural competitions such as The Sunday Times Building of the Year Award, and has been a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission and a Commissioner for English Heritage. In addition, he is a previous President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and was awarded the CBE in 1994. MacCormac has been involved in a number of prestigious projects, including the Cable and Wireless College, Coventry (which won The Sunday Times Building of the Year award) and the Garden Quadrangle at St John’s College Oxford (winner of the Independent on Sunday Building of the Year Award 1994). Other projects have included projected developments such as the Jubilee Line extension’s Southwark Station, and the Coventry Phoenix initiative that aims to regenerate central public spaces and includes a public art events programme. MacCormac also designed the projected Tesco store at Ludlow in Shropshire which, rather than try to ape the surroundings, has attempted to draw upon the environs without resorting to some neoarchitectural fancy by looking at how the town has developed and evolved, and then designing the new store to fit in with the landscape and to be sensitive to its ambience. A resident in the Spitalfields area of London, where much of his work is based, he has shown a keen awareness of social issues that need to be addressed within architecture, particularly in terms of (re)-creating communities and reclaiming spaces/ places.
   MacCormac is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and senior partner of MacCormac Jamieson and Pritchard. The firm is also responsible for designing the ‘new’ (it was first proposed in 1911) wing for London’s Science Museum in South Kensington. This is to be known as the Wellcome Wing, as the Wellcome Trust have offered £16.5m funding, which will be supplemented by £23m from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The firm has had to pay careful attention to integrating its design so as not to adversely affect existing neighbours, including the Omani embassy.
   GUY OSBORN
   STEVE GREENFIELD

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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