Will Alsop (born December 12th 1947) is a British architect from Northampton, Northamptonshire. Alsop then studied at the Architectural Association School of Architecture where at 23 he entered the competition to design the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and came second to the eventual winners, Richard Rogers & Renzo Piano. After graduating he worked briefly for Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew and then joined Cedric Price for four years.
After a short period with Roderick Ham, in 1981 Alsop set up a practice, Alsop & Lyall, with his classmate John Lyall in Hammersmith. Jan Stormer later joined the practice and a decade later, in 1991, the practice was renamed Alsop & Stormer after Lyall's departure. Alsop's first real commission was a swimming pool for Sheringham in Norfolk in 1984, followed by a visitor centre for Cardiff Bay. Thereafter he worked on a number of projects in Germany, including the Hamburg Ferry Terminal, before beating Norman Foster in the competition to design the Hotel du Departement des Bouches-du-Rhone (seat of the regional government) in Marseille, France (the building has been nicknamed Le Grand Bleu - "The Big Blue" - and "The Whale" by the locals), in 1994. Alsop and Stormer divided into separate practices in 2000, Alsop forming Alsop Architects. After a tumuluous period where Alsop was confronted with financial difficulties Alsop joined RMJM's London Headquarters in October 2009 as International Principal. The office's name is now '"Will Alsop at RMJM"'. Alsop currently has practices in Beijing, London, Shanghai, Singapore and Toronto, which he visits regularly.
Alsop was a tutor of sculpture at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London for several years, and has held many other academic posts, among others at the Vienna University of Technology, Universities of London and Hannover, and actively promotes the artistic contribution to built environments. His paintings and sketches have been exhibited alongside his architectural projects in dedicated exhibitions at Sir John Soane's Museum, Milton Keynes Gallery, Cube Gallery in Manchester, and the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, among other venues. He has been Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Architecture Foundation. Alsop has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), and was elected to the Royal Academy on 18 May 2000.
Because of his avant-garde and strikingly different buildings, Will Alsop has been considered something of a maverick in the British architectural scene. Once dubbed "architecture's Mr. Blobby" by the press, Alsop's buildings often don't look like buildings at all - most are a riot of bright colours, blobby pods, spindly supports and look nothing like the surrounding environment. His government offices in Marseilles are painted in blue, attract one million visitors a year, despite being intended only as the French equivalent of a county hall.
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