Deciding to embark on a career in architecture from a young age, Michael Hopkins would gain recognition for technologically ambitious structures that somehow harmonised with the institution, history or setting they belonged to.

He leaves behind him an incredible body of work, from cultural venues to political buildings and almost everything in between, many of them projects on which Arup is proud to have collaborated.

Hopkins began his career alongside other emerging pioneers of post-war design, like Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and Terry Farrell, before beginning his own practice in 1976. Arup’s first collaboration with Hopkins was on the Schlumberger Cambridge Research Centre – a technological research facility, incorporating a fabric roof atop a slender steel frame. Bracken House followed, a high-tech revitalisation of an old Financial Times print works into a new home for a Japanese investment bank. In one of his most notable 1980s projects, Hopkins’ design for a new Mound Stand at Lord’s Cricket Ground took a form that retained the site’s Victorian character and heritage, while implementing an elegant, translucent roof that at a distance, recalled images of marquees on a village green.

Hopkins’ vision of architecture, shared with his lifelong collaborator and wife Patty, was rooted in a desire to rethink contemporary practices while remaining rooted in existing human preferences. This was an ethos that resonated with many at Arup. Dervilla Mitchell, Deputy Chair at Arup, observed that “there is always such a focus on the quality of the building and all its components. So, working with Hopkins is always an inspiring experience, one where the engineering becomes part of the architectural narrative from the outset, to achieve the greatest outcome.”

Michael Stych, Arup engineer, has also had a long relationship with Hopkins Architects and commented that “he was a pioneer in green building design, and way ahead of his time. This was demonstrated on both the Jubilee Campus at Nottingham University (2000) and the recently Grade-II listed Inland Revenue building (1994), also in Nottingham. That vision of high performance yet sustainable design, is just part of the reason we continue to work with the practice to this day.”

Hopkins and Arup have continued to work together over the last 40 years, with Arup often supporting the design of buildings that offer an inspiring user experience, while pushing the boundaries of environmental performance. We extend our condolences to Michael’s family and colleagues.

You can find more about our work with Hopkins Architects in these editions of the Arup Journal: