Renowned architect leaves Norwich and Norfolk legacy

The award-winning architect behind some of Norwich and Norfolk’s most iconic buildings, including an eye-catching, luxury short-term rental home, has died.

Sir Michael Hopkins, who designed the Forum and Norwich Cathedral Refectory and Hostry, died on June 17, leaving behind a legacy of pioneering designs.

He was also responsible for the new parliamentary building Portcullis House, the London 2012 Velodrome, Glyndebourne Opera House and Westminster Underground Station.

Long House, nestled in the North Norfolk village of Cockthorpe, was another of his striking designs and can rented by members of the public for holiday stays.

One of the leading British architects considered to be the founders of the High-Tech movement of architecture, Sir Michael was known for his structural expressionist designs, featuring metal, glass and previously industrial-style features.

He founded Hopkins Architects with his wife Patty and was held in global esteem across the world for his work.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) President Simon Allford says:  “Michael was one of the great architects of our time.

“His honours and accolades – including the 1994 RIBA Royal Gold Medal presented to him and Patty Hopkins – are testament to his talent and the strength of their equal partnership in work and life. 

“Michael himself was an inspiration to the many who followed Patty and him in their practice and beyond.

“He encouraged them to push the envelope in every sense, and to think differently about how architecture should engage with the world.” 

The £67 million Forum, which was funded with Millennium Project National Lottery funding, has become one of Norwich’s best known buildings

With a spectacular glass façade that is 15 metres high and a curved steel roof, it reflects the city around it while also achieving success as a multi-purpose community space.

With its abundance of timber and glass, Norwich Cathedral Refectory and Hostry was cleverly designed to be a complete contrast to the anicient flint walls of the medieval cloisters.

Simon adds: “Michael was an engaging and inspirational figure to the many who followed him, both in his practice and outside.

“He encouraged them to think differently about how architecture can engage with place and people to help shape a better constructed world.

“His inventive spirit will long endure through the legacy of his and Patty’s buildings, their practice, their extended and connected family, and their wide circle of friends and colleagues.” 

Other achitects acclaimed for their High-Tech buildings included Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Nicholas Grimshaw and Terry Farrell.

During his career, Sir Michael partnered with Foster, who is of course known for designing Norwich’s Sainsbury Centre.