Reflecting on his remarkable 50-year career John was an inspirational, thoughtful, and highly motivated architect and urbanist and throughout his life he was passionate about improving the quality of life in neighbourhoods and places across the UK and internationally.
Trained as an architect at Cambridge University during the 1960s, John rejected the prevailing view of the architect as a heroic ‘form-maker’ and instead devoted his career to working with local people to create places that encourage social interaction and help nurture a strong sense of community, often in areas experiencing significant social and economic challenges.
Lea View House in Hackney is widely recognised as a seminal Community Architecture project. Shocked by the severity of the problems of the housing estate with high levels of crime, and anti-social behaviour, John opened an office on site and devised techniques enabling residents to participate in the transformation of their estate. At the time Charles Knevitt writing in The Times said ‘Pride, dignity, and self-respect have been restored at Lea View and Community Architecture was the process by which it came about’.