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20

Context | Past masters

OBITUARY

‘THIS IS A remarkable achievement: it must be how Frank Lloyd Wright’s first houses looked when they were new, blowing away all the froth of styles without touching the essential rhythms’. So wrote architectural historian and journalist Ian Nairn in the Telegraph in January 1963 of the new group of farm buildings at Fulmer Bucks, designed by the then 29-year- old David Dry and his wife Katharina Halasz. They met while working at Casson Conder

DAVID DRY 1934-2011

Versatile and prolific designer whose private houses in particular shone in a wide-ranging portfolio

and Partners, and their practice enjoyed many generous referrals by Sir Hugh Casson, with projects ranging from The Architectural Press’s Georgian offices in Queen Anne’s Gate to Odeon Cinemas. David had endless energy, and fluency across project types from the industrial design of nautical instruments, hotels, restaurants, hair dressing salons, offices, cinemas, production yacht interiors and private houses. David was also committed to public sector housing, and the then ground breaking concept of ‘high density low rise’. Many of his clients became friends who relished their role as patrons of good design. These included George Hoellering, the Austrian film producer/director and client for the Fulmer farm, who was also owner of the Academy Cinema in Oxford Street where Dry Halasz and Associates, having been joined in partnership by John Haryett, excavated and built a second cinema in the basement under the original auditorium. There were also Sir Maxwell and Lady Joseph for whom the practice designed hotel interiors, restaurants and several private houses. In the early years David and Katharina

To inform the RIBA of the death of a member, please email membership.services@inst.riba.org with details of next of kin

lived adjacent to the practice’s new studios built in the garden of their home in a joint development with John Darbourne. David’s infectious enthusiasm and generosity often resulted in large office gatherings in the Richmond Rendezvous Chinese restaurant, where table napkins became covered with 2B pencil and felt tip and many design schemes were hatched. David’s work transcended style; he was capable of restraint, but also had a theatrical talent for interior design. His black lacquered and panelled dining room for Lady Eileen Joseph was bold and risky, but magical. The Josephs also commissioned projects at the Carlton Hotel Cannes and the Metropole Monaco, inspiring David to write Architectural

Practice in France. He also wrote the Interior Design Workbook and with Leonard Beaven co- authored the original Architects Job Book. David was later joined in partnership by Bob

Dixon, and the practice, now titled Dry Halasz Dixon, expanded to over 50 people with three offices in Richmond, Manchester and St Neots. David had developed a passion for sailing

and designed with naval architect Julian Everett several pre-production prototypes, culminating in a 43 ft yawl built for himself and his second wife, actress Dorothy (Dot) White. In 1977 David entered a new partnership

with interior designer George Butlin, and architects Vince Hastwell and Roger Bicknell. By the beginning of the 1990s David and Dot

had bought a finca on a hillside near Granada in Andalucia, and set about building a small cluster of holiday cottages grouped around their own house. They settled in Spain and David gained a considerable reputation locally for his private houses, all highly theatrical, showing great respect for local building traditions, yet innovative and energy efficient. While in Spain he became a founder member and eager supporter of the Directory of Social Inventions and Peace Tax Campaigns. He was always drawing, even in meetings

with clients, and could quickly and graphically depict their aspirations. David was an optimist, relentlessly enthusiastic, generous of spirit and touched the lives of many. He leaves his third wife Shujata and his son

Simon from his first marriage to Katharina. His daughter Georgina died a year ago. n

George Butlin IN MEMORIAM

This month, the RIBA has learned with regret of the following members’ deaths Frederick Henry Westrope, elected 1951, Sheffield Reginald Sanger Gray, elected 1951, Harlow, Essex Dennis Clifford Hands, elected 1951, Truro, Cornwall John Michael Watkins, elected 1951, Southend-On-Sea John Osborne Webb, elected 1951, Cardiff Dennis Clark Slater, elected 1952, Sunderland, David H. Bishop, elected 1953, Bridport, Dorset Wilfred Ronald Court, elected 1953, Peterborough, Robert Wilfred Ingram, elected 1953 Vivian Levett, elected 1953, London

WWW.RIBAJOURNAL.COM : SEPTEMBER 2011

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