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Eric Kuhne: Brains behind iconic Titanic Belfast dies

By David Young

Published 29/07/2016

Architect Eric Kuhne in front of the now famous Titanic Belfast building
Architect Eric Kuhne in front of the now famous Titanic Belfast building

Eric Kuhne, the architect who designed the Titanic Visitor Centre in Belfast's former shipyard, has died aged 64.

Mr Kuhne, who lived in London, was born in San Antonio, Texas and grew up in New Haven, Indiana.

In the UK his major projects included the Bluewater shipping Centre in Kent, and the St David's Centre in Cardiff, in addition to the iconic £97m Titanic Belfast centre.

His Belfast creation has become one of Northern Ireland's major tourist attractions, pulling in more than half a million visitors a year.

The son of a much-travelled US military family, Kuhne studied for a Master's degree in architecture at Princeton University.

The London-based architect described himself on his Facebook profile as an "architect errant, derailed collector, broken bibliophile, designer of cities, scavenger of ideas."

Kuhne became a global figure, a 'starchitect', delivering lectures about his work and approach, using his projects to illustrate advanced ideas in art, architecture, landscape, urban and industrial design.

He became a British citizen in 2009.

Kuhne's work focused on large scale commercial projects, and examples of his work can seen in cities all across the world, with major projects realised in Australia, the Middle East, Russia, Turkey, as well as the USA and Canada.

It's understood that Mr Kuhne died of a heart attack.

Tim Husbands MBE, who is Titanic Belfast's chief executive, commented: "Titanic Belfast is saddened to hear of the passing of renowned architect Eric Kuhne, the Concept Architect for our iconic building. Eric paid tribute to the Titanic story through his ideas and vision for Titanic Belfast and has left a lasting legacy both within our city and across the world.

"Our thoughts are with his family at this time."

Paul Crowe, president of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects and director of Todd Architects, and who worked with Mr Kuhne on the Titanic project, said via social media: "Sorry to hear sad news of the passing of Eric Kuhne this week.

"Good memories of collaboration on Titanic Belfast."

Details of Mr Kuhne's funeral have not yet been announced.

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