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Derek Walker (1929-2015)

13.5.2015
Milton Keynes Shopping Centre, by Milton Keynes Development Corporation (1979). Image: Architects

Milton Keynes Shopping Centre, by Milton Keynes Development Corporation (1979). Image: Architects' Journal Building Library

 

Derek Walker visiting the Future City exhibition at MK Gallery. Photo courtesy Mark Coster.

Derek Walker visiting the Future City exhibition at MK Gallery. Photo courtesy Mark Coster.

Milton Keynes Shopping Centre, by Milton Keynes Development Corporation (1979). Image: Architects
Derek Walker visiting the Future City exhibition at MK Gallery. Photo courtesy Mark Coster.

Milton Keynes Shopping Centre, by Milton Keynes Development Corporation (1979). Image: Architects' Journal Building Library

 

MK Gallery is saddened to learn of the recent death of the visionary architect and mastermind behind Milton Keynes, Derek Walker, aged 85.

Derek Walker was Chief Architect and Planning Officer for Milton Keynes (1970-1976). Appointed in his early 40s, he assembled a formidable team of 200, including some of the finest young architects, designers and thinkers of the period. He was an inspirational figure, who headed the architecture department at the Royal College of Art during the 1980s, and has had, and will continue to exert, a huge influence on countless generations of architects and planners.

Derek Walker was a close supporter of MK Gallery and made several public appearances here, including Derek Walker: Milton Keynes - The Art of Illusion with Ellis Woodman, editor of Building Design (part of a series of talks curated by artist Gareth Jones) and Why we came to Milton Keynes, during the Future City exhibition.

Tom Emerson of 6a architects, one of the foremost young British architecture firms, designing the MK Gallery expansion, acknowledges Walker’s legacy:

"Derek Walker and his contribution to the creation of Milton Keynes was one of the inspiring and heroic stories during my education in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His vision and faith in the future was radical, inclusive and optimistic at the time when architecture and the environment was retreating into ever more individualistic and privatised worlds. It was a great honour to meet him during events at MK Gallery and to hear his passion for MK, architecture and the environment undiluted. He challenged us to do better and to take the project of the city forward into the future with the expansion of MK Gallery. It is very sad to hear of  his death yesterday but his vision remains alive and more important than ever and I hope we will live up to his standards in the years ahead.”

 

Read more about Derek Walker in the Architects' Journal obituary HERE.