John Hopkins, Celebrated Architect Of Olympic Parkland, Dies Aged 59

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John Hopkins, the visionary landscape architect and mastermind of London's Olympic parklands, has died aged 59.

In directing the team who created the vibrant backdrop to last year's Olympics and Paralympics in Stratford, east London, Mr Hopkins has also sowed the seeds for the UK's largest new urban park for more than a century.

Mr Hopkins, a top international landscape architect, urban designer, environmental planner and author, was responsible for more than 250 acres of green space in his work at the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) from 2007 to 2011.

olympic park

Liverpool-born Mr Hopkins died suddenly last week.

"We are all shocked by the sad news of John Hopkins' passing," ODA chairman Sir John Armitt said.

"So many people delighted in seeing the parklands and public open spaces last summer - which will now be an enduring legacy of John's work.

"Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this sad time."

Mr Hopkins' fiancee Laura Adams described him as something of "an iconoclast - a man who knew what he stood for and was unafraid to tell the truth."

She said: "He never let us forget the urgency of our responsibility toward our environment, but he was thoughtful, with the patience and humility to plan and design projects whose real benefit can only be truly appreciated by a generation he'll never know."

The Olympic Park is set to reopen in phases from this summer as the newly-named Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Mr Hopkins was a Fellow of the Landscape Institute and a Churchill Fellow in urban design, in addition to being a Corporate Member of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

After working on the Olympic project, Mr Hopkins moved to the US, where he was a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania while holding a similar role at the University of Greenwich in London.

He had also been leading a consulting team advising on Shelby Farms Park in Memphis, Tennessee - a 4,500-acre green space - in addition to completing a study which would form part of landscape management strategy for Network Rail in the UK.
His career had taken him across the world as he practised in Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong and the US.

His work was also recognised by the Landscape Institute's Peter Youngman Award for Outstanding Contribution to Landscape, and by the Royal Town Planning Institute, Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architects and the Civic Trust.

ODA and London Legacy Development Corporation chief executive Dennis Hone said: "His breadth of knowledge in landscape architecture ensured the parklands were the hidden treasure for many spectators during the Games, and his energy will live on as the park reopens for generations of visitors to enjoy."

Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate and former ODA board member, said: "The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park owes its form and its success to the vision and determination of John Hopkins.

"His imagination brought unexpected new features to the original plan while his watchful eye ensured that quality and sustainability would be the hallmarks of the largest urban park created in England in more than a hundred years.

"His recent book on the Park, co-edited with Peter Neal, is a testament to his ambition and will serve as a bible for the next generation of landscape designers".

He is survived by his daughter Rosie and son Jack, and his fiancee Ms Adams.