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Co Down architect Robert Maxwell 'a remarkable educator'


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Talent: Robert Maxwell paying piano

Talent: Robert Maxwell paying piano

Talent: Robert Maxwell paying piano

Robert Maxwell, the distinguished architect and academic, who was born in County Down, died earlier this month at his holiday home in Aix-en-Provence.

The 98-year-old was Emeritus Professor of the Princeton School of Architecture, Dean from 1982 for a number of years and previously Visiting Professor.

He graduated from Liverpool University in 1949 with a B.Arch and a Diploma in Civic Design after war service in India.

He became an architect with the London County Council, where he worked on the extension of the Royal Festival Hall, and later for Douglas Stephens and Partners.

From 1958 to 1962 he was a Year Master at the Architectural Association School before joining the Bartlett School of Architecture, where he became a Professor, before going on to Princeton.

Following Princeton, he returned to the Architectural Association School, where he taught for over a decade.

He retired in 2006 but continued to lecture around the world and at the Royal Academy in London.

Paying tribute in the current edition of The Architects' Journal, the Dean of Architecture at Princeton Monica Ponce de Leon described Bob Maxwell as "a remarkable educator whose legacy is still felt in the field of architecture at large.

"With an illustrious career that bridged the Atlantic, he infused American pedagogy with a fresh point of view," she said.

Adrian Forty, Emeritus Professor of the History of Architecture at the Bartlett School, said of Bob Maxwell: "He was most unusual in that he was deeply passionate about architecture without being dogmatic.

"He hated dogma, and this was a rare quality, especially amongst architects of his generation."

The late Mr Maxwell was also a noted critic and author.

When he was in his 90s, he completed his autobiography, titled The Time of My Life, In Architecture.

He also published a collection of essays, titled Sweet Disorder and the Carefully Careless.

He was furthermore an accomplished pianist and enlivened many an architectural gathering with impromptu sessions of jazz and ragtime.

He is survived by his wife Celia Scott, three children by his first wife Margaret (nee Howell) and five grandchildren.

Belfast Telegraph