Professor Sir Colin St. John Wilson RA 1922-2007
Continuity in Architecture was saddened to hear of the death of ‘Sandy’ Wilson, a major figure in British architecture and architectural education in the second half of the twentieth century. A memory which has survived the passing of the years is that of a kind mentor and his professorial office dominated by a large Patrick Caulfield painting.The obituaries in the major British newspapers linked below refer to his professional life especially as architect of the British Library, and his collection of contemporary art which was donated to the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester. The photographs show an early work, the extension to the Cambridge School of Architecture, a small demonstration of Corbusian brutalism and the scene of the first airings of Wilson’s ruminations on architectural theory published in ‘Architectural Reflections’ and ‘The Other Tradition of Modern Architecture’. Less intellectual memories of the extension include a Halloween party in ‘The Pit’ (alas, sans its original built-in concrete coffee table) where Dalibor Vesely was seen grooving in a ‘Starsky & Hutch’ style wrap-over belted cardigan, while the lecture theatre itself was the venue for the 1978 Christmas Revue ‘Waiting for Wilson’, (a Beckettian homage to the often necessarily absent professor) which ended on a rousing rendition of the contemporaneous John Travolta hit ‘Sandy’ from the soundtrack of ‘Grease’.