Ritchie, Ian

Ritchie, Ian
   b. 1947
   Architect
   Ian Ritchie trained first at the Liverpool School of Architecture (1965–8) and then at the Polytechnic of Central London (1970–2), after which he worked for Foster Associates until 1976. With Foster Associates, he worked on the design of the Willis, Faber and Dumas office in Ipswich and the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia. He then worked in Paris (he is also a registered architect in France) before establishing Chrysalis Architects (with Michael Dowd and Alan Stanton). This was up to 1981, after which he was a director of Rice, Francis and Ritchie in Paris up to 1986 (he also taught at the Architectural Association at this time, from 1979 to 1982). Additionally, he set up a private practice in London from 1981 as Ian Ritchie Architects.
   His most noticeable design style is a combination of architecture and engineering, as in the Meccano-kit Eagle Rock House at Sussex (1983) and in his work on Fiat vehicles, cranes and high tensile fabric roofs. In the late 1980s he worked on apartment housing in Docklands. Overall, Ritchie is better known in France than the UK, because of his work with Martin Francis and Peter Rice which contributed to the Louvre pyramid. Since his return to Britain, and move to Wapping, he has become a leading UK architectural light and is a Royal Fine Art Commissioner. Despite his technical expertise (he is known for his structural uses of glass), his approach to architecture is holistic. In his book Well Connected Architects he says ‘to understand the quality of our environmental fabric it requires inspiration, ideas and expertise’, from artists, poets, economists and members of the public. He is commissioned to design the new Crystal Palace.
   PETER CHILDS

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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