Architect mourns friend and collaborator

Norman Foster has paid tribute to Charles Jencks, his friend and client who died at the weekend.

Norman Foster

Norman Foster

The founder and executive chairman of Foster & Partners described the historian, landscape designer and cultural theorist as a “doyen of architectural criticism” who had an infectious and inspiring sense of humour.

They worked together most recently on the Maggie’s Centre at Manchester’s Christie Hospital.

Jencks, the co-founder of the Maggie’s cancer charity, died at home on Sunday aged 80.

Foster issued a statement saying: “I am deeply saddened by the news of Charles Jencks’ passing. A doyen of architectural criticism, his all-encompassing contributions as a theorist, historian and designer reflected his love for architecture and the built environment.

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Charles Jencks in his house which is to be turned into a museum

“Under his tutelage, he inspired hundreds of students at more than 40 schools of architecture around the world, where he taught and lectured throughout his storied career.

“Education was never far from his heart and I was extremely supportive of his endeavour to convert his house in west London into a public museum. Over several decades, Charles had assembled a world archive of recent architecture in a single house – one that exemplifies in its own architecture, alongside his own worldview and the thoughts and works of different architects over 50 years.

“As the co-founder of Maggie’s Cancer Centres, borne out of his late wife Maggie’s struggle with the disease, Charles showed remarkable strength and fortitude to turn a personal tragedy into an institution that brings so much hope to so many people. I will always remember him for his incisive focus and infectious humour that inspired all of us during the numerous design discussions for Maggie’s Manchester.

“Above all, Charles and his late wife were dear friends over many decades. I will miss the cut-and-thrust of debating with him, the twinkle in his eye and an infectious humour with an ever-present serious undercurrent. Most of all I will miss his friendship. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

Thematic House, aka Elemental House, Cosmic House; 19 Lansdowne Walk, Kensington & Chelsea, Greater London. Charles Jencks with Terry Farrell, 1979-85.Rear elevation from south. copyright Hist

Source: Historic England

Jencks’ house which is to be turned into a museum

Thematic House, Lansdowne Walk, North Kensington, London.. copyright Histori

Source: Historic England

Jencks’ house which is to be turned into a museum. Internal window from Architectural Library through to Solar Stair, by Charles Jencks with Sir Terry Farrell. 1979-85