"If I were a politician," said the British architect Will Alsop, "I would make a law in every city that everything from the ground to 10m and higher should float and not touch the ground
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"If I were a politician," said the British architect Will Alsop, "I would make a law in every city that everything from the ground to 10m and higher should float and not touch the ground … The ground should be given to people and gardens, not buildings."
He meant it. The Sharp Centre, his faculty of design building at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto, consists of a large black-and-white block propped on splayed coloured stilts above the historic buildings of the university. It's his most famous building, but he did many more.
Alsop, who died in 2018, never became a politician and he wasn't even widely admired among architects, although he did stick up for them.
"Architects are the only profession that actually deal in joy and delight," he said. "All the others deal in doom and gloom."
He included politicians and city officials among those others, often finding himself at war with people who couldn't see the point. But he loved colour, pattern and the way the apparently impossible unlocks joy, and was always happy to share his ideas.
Alsop visited Auckland in 2015 and drew up a plan for the Britomart precinct. It didn't go down well.
Design for Living is a new series on urban life running in Canvas magazine.