Dezeen Magazine

Portrait of Michael Wilford and his wife Angela

British architect Michael Wilford dies aged 84

British architect Michael Wilford, who was best known for his bright and colourful postmodern buildings created together with James Stirling, has passed away at the age of 84.

The news of his passing on Friday 10th March was confirmed today in an email to Dezeen from his daughter, Karenna Wilford.

Exterior of Tate Liverpool
Top image: architect Michael Wilford has passed away. Photo courtesy of Karenna Wilford. Above: he was one of the architects behind the Tate Liverpool. Photo by Phil Nash via Wikimedia Commons

Wilford was born in East Sussex in 1938. He began his architectural career studying at the Northern Polytechnic School of Architecture before becoming a technician at Stirling's studio in 1960.

He went on to complete his studies at the Regent Street Polytechnic Planning School in London in 1967, before restarting his collaboration with Stirling and founding the Stirling/Wilford partnership in 1971.

Exterior of No 1 Poultry in London
Wilford worked with James Stirling on No 1 Poultry. Photo by Garry Knight via Wikimedia Commons

After the death of Stirling in 1992, the practice was renamed Michael Wilford & Partners. He left in 2000, going on to establish both Michael Wilford Architects in London and Wilford Schupp Architects in Stuttgart in 2001.

The architect is best known for his long-term collaboration with Stirling and their landmark projects such as No 1 Poultry, an iconic pink and yellow limestone-clad building that was Grade II* listed in 2016 following a preservation campaign.

Colourful exterior of Neue Straatsgalerie
He was known for his colourful buildings such as the Neue Staatsgalerie. Photo is by Fred Romero via Wikimedia Commons

Together, the duo also created the Tate Liverpool – which involved a conversion of a Grade I-listed 19th-century warehouse into an art gallery.

Wilford was also behind projects including The Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, completed in 1984, the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, completed in 1987, as well as the Lowry Centre in Salford, completed in 2000.

He designed the British Embassy in Berlin in 2000 and the State Music School in Stuttgart in 1996, which was awarded the Stirling Prize in 1997.

In 2001, Wilford received a CBE – the highest-ranking Order of the British Empire award.

Stuttgart's State Music School
Stuttgart's State Music School won the Stirling Prize. Photo is by Immanuel Giel via Wikimedia Commons

Alongside practising as an architect, Wilford was a critic, external examiner and visiting professor at several universities, including Yale University, Harvard University, the Architectural Association and the University of Liverpool School of Architecture.

"His unstinting faith in humanity, and his life-long curiosity about everything creative that the human mind could offer, made him believe that architecture retained the everlasting possibility of producing culturally inspired and socially relevant environments and settings," said the Liverpool School of Architecture in a statement.

Wilford is survived by his wife Angela (pictured above) and five children, Karenna, Carl, Paul, Jane and Anna.

He is the latest of a number of leading architects who have recently passed away. Earlier this month, skyscraper architect Gene Kohn of KPF died aged 92 and Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly passed away aged 78.