Lynn Kinnear obituary

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lynn-kinnear-obituary

Lynn Kinnear, who has died of most cancers aged 64, was one of many excellent panorama architects of her era. Her work ranged from city playgrounds to pure parks comparable to Walthamstow Wetlands in east London. She collaborated with quite a lot of main architects and artists, together with the Richard Rogers Partnership. Burntwood college in Wandsworth, south London, which she designed with the architects Allford Corridor Monaghan and Morris, gained the Stirling prize in 2015. Kinnear’s overriding purpose, she mentioned, was “to work with native communities to impact change of their public area”.

Her method mixed adventurous pondering, typically impressed by artwork, with a deep data of crops and habitats. Influenced by continental European panorama designers, such because the Dutch follow West 8, she favored to play the pure off in opposition to the bogus. Together with her Hellings Road Park in Wapping, east London, a 1995 mission that helped make her identify, she created mounds and valleys out of the fabric used for operating tracks, with a bull’s-eye sample marked out in robust colors, and a small plantation of pine bushes subsequent to a shiny blue wall. With a rope bridge and a play fort, this “lumpy panorama” was designed to encourage exercise and risk-taking.

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Burntwood college, in Wandsworth, south London, which Lynn Kinnear designed with the architects Allford Corridor Monaghan and Morris, gained the Stirling prize in 2015. Panorama and structure are equal companions within the success of the design. {Photograph}: Tim Soar

In Walthamstow she led a crew that opened up a 200-hectare web site, containing a gaggle of reservoirs, to public entry. The work concerned nurturing and enhancing the situation’s wealthy biodiversity, whereas additionally enabling a whole bunch of hundreds of holiday makers per 12 months to take pleasure in and recognize its pure and industrial heritage. Her contribution is by turns conspicuous and barely noticeable: a protracted boardwalk subsequent to a brook makes a memorable entrance into the location, the place she planted willows and reedbeds that look as if they’ve all the time been there. As in a lot of her work, the design of the wetlands is about taking advantage of the inherent id of the place.

Kinnear strove to get extra out of a fee than her shoppers might need envisaged. “Once I get a quick, it’s all the time a problem to be slightly outrageous,” she mentioned. She would typically commit extra time to engagement with native communities than she was funded to do. With Brentford Excessive Road in west London, the place she was initially requested to design little greater than an set up of lighting bollards, she redesigned the city’s Market Place as extra pedestrian-friendly and lively area, and made forbidding industrial sheds alongside a close-by canal extra hospitable, by re-cladding them in timber fretwork. For this mission, accomplished in 2014, she gained the Panorama Institute’s president’s award.

Kinnear may very well be reticent about selling her personal work, however was each tenacious and pragmatic, important qualities for getting the perfect of the general public bureaucracies for whom she typically labored. Though she had a present for working with architects and different disciplines, she fought in opposition to a typical tendency to see the design of panorama as secondary to that of buildings, and the very first thing to be reduce when budgets had been tight. “I resist strongly,” she mentioned, “if I’m given a mission and the structure has already been plonked on the location.”

With Burntwood college and different works, panorama and structure are equal companions within the success of the design.

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Lynn Kinnear’s method mixed adventurous pondering, typically impressed by artwork, with a deep data of crops and habitats

Born in Edinburgh, Lynn was the daughter of Margaret (nee Jeffcock) and George Kinnear. Her mom raised Lynn and her three youthful sisters; her father labored for the town council, together with as an inspector of council housing. Formative influences included her mom’s love of gardening and the keeness of her grandfather Ernest Jeffcock, a builder, for her to review structure. She was educated at James Gillespie’s highschool and studied panorama structure on the Edinburgh School of Artwork, which was then affiliated to Heriot-Watt College. There she was a part of a cohort taught by the exacting however inspiring Professor David Skinner, a number of of whom went on to be leaders of their occupation.

She labored for the panorama architects Gillespies on initiatives together with the Liverpool Worldwide Backyard competition of 1984 after which for the multinational architectural follow SOM, on the Canary Wharf growth in London’s docklands. Whereas she revered the latter’s skilled method, she felt (as she later mentioned) that it “didn’t adequately deal with native communities”. Eager to do her personal factor, she arrange Kinnear Panorama Architects in 1991.

In 1992, as a lecturer on the College of Greenwich, she helped to interview a younger architect referred to as Sean Griffiths for a part-time instructing publish. Discovering him boastful, she really helpful another person, however was overruled. They turned life companions, regardless of this unpromising begin, and had a daughter, Lily, collectively. Additionally they constructed the Blue Home in east London, designed by Sean and his follow FAT , whose playful use of color and decoration stood courageously other than the architectural mainstream, and now makes it an object of pilgrimage to college students. Accomplished in 2002, it remained Lynn’s house till she died.

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Walthamstow Wetlands nature reserve in north-east London, the place Lynn Kinnear led a crew that opened up a 200-hectare web site, containing a gaggle of reservoirs, to public entry. {Photograph}: Ray Sensible/Getty Pictures

In the meantime her rising status gained her a succession of initiatives. She designed, with the artist Richard Wentworth, a brand new civic sq. in Walsall, within the West Midlands, subsequent to the New Artwork Gallery by the architects Caruso St John. The funding in training underneath Tony Blair’s authorities gave her the chance to design a number of faculties. Design for London, an company arrange underneath Ken Livingstone after he was elected mayor of London in 2000, enabled her to work on a number of of the capital’s uncared for inexperienced areas. In addition to designing particular person initiatives, she additionally carried out strategic work, for instance on the downlands in south London.

Regardless of the protracted and punishing therapy of her most cancers, which was recognized in 2017, she continued the work of her follow till 2023, when she determined to shut it. She and Griffiths separated in 2008, however remained on good phrases, and he helped look after her throughout her sickness, alongside different family and friends.

She is survived by Lily and by her sisters, Jo, Susie and Sally.

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