'A mash-up of high-tech, futurism and Blue Peter' - Ijeh on Alsop

Sharp Centre for Design in Toronto by Will Alsop

Will Alsop was radical, daring and esoteric - but above all he brought a sense of fun to architecture

One of the inevitable though regrettable things about growing up is gaining inhibitions. Authors are told only to write about what they know. Architects are trained to codify design into a contract. But to watch a child at play is a humbling exercise in the raw creative power of a truly unhindered imagination. For children, pleasure is king.

And from his architecture, one gets the distinct impression that Will Alsop was one of the few architects who managed to hold on to that childlike sense of play, imagination, creativity and delight and haul it into his adult professional life.

His best buildings show these forces in full swing, particularly on what is arguably his signature British work, Stirling Prize-winning Peckham Library. Designed long before libraries – or Peckham – became fashionable again, the building’s bright colours, leaning columns, fun-size windows and bulbous rooflight “pod” helped revitalise the area and redefine the traditional library format.

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