Wednesday 19 September 2018

Starchitect's grand designs finally get big screen credit

A man left out in the cold by his own people, Kevin Roche is now celebrated worldwide

Kevin Roche. Photo: Nathan Benn/Corbis via Getty Images
Kevin Roche. Photo: Nathan Benn/Corbis via Getty Images
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

In 1982, Kevin Roche stood at a podium to deliver his acceptance speech after receiving the Pritzker Prize, often considered the Nobel Prize of architecture.

It was a perfect moment for a little bit of self-congratulation, but instead Roche simply took a slip of paper from his pocket and read aloud a letter an irate woman had sent him tearing apart his life's work and declaring that the members of the Pritzker committee "must be out of their minds". He returned the note to his pocket and quietly walked off the stage.

It was a typical act of humour and humility by a man who, though still relatively unknown in Ireland, has been acknowledged as a key player in the history of American and Western architecture.

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