Bryan Avery obituary

By Richard Weston

Architect who designed the London Imax and developed a vision of sustainability

Bryan Avery, who has died aged 73, was an architect whose fascination with advanced technology was matched by a passion for cities and landscapes, and a determination to innovate in everything he touched. His work ranged from graphic design and a patented light fitting through nationally significant cultural buildings such as the home of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) and the London Imax cinema to a visionary project for a sustainable future that he called Wilderness City. His sketchbooks were filled with details of architecture, plants and all kinds of machines.

Bryan came to national attention in 1988 with the British Film Institute’s Museum of the Moving Image, located beneath the approach to Waterloo Bridge. With its clip-on cladding and kit-of-parts structure it was unmistakably hi-tech but also evoked the glamour of film. It closed in 1999, but not before catching the eye of Richard Attenborough, the chairman of Rada’s governors, which led to Bryan being commissioned for the comprehensive redevelopment of the academy’s Bloomsbury base. The resulting intimate performance space is among the most flexible in London, and at the heart of the tightly packed accommodation is a narrow, top-lit cleft at whose base the sun caresses a bust of George Bernard Shaw.

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