Professor Howard Liddell OBE
It is with deep regret that we must announce that Professor Howard Liddell OBE, Principal of Gaia Architects passed away on the 23rd February 2013.
A graduate of Edinburgh University, Howard’s career included ten years within academia - firstly as a senior lecturer and then director of research at the innovative School of Architecture at Hull, followed by two years as Guest Professor in Building Technology at Oslo. He developed a huge creative bond with his students who went on to form the Green Association of Idealistic Architects (Gaia) in Norway.
Howard maintained strong links throughout his career to the Gaia Norway office after returning to Scotland to establish Gaia Architects (Scotland). He pioneered ecological architecture with passion for the environment, community and placemaking.
Notable projects from his time as Principal of the practice are numerous, but include; Fairfield Housing which won a UN Habitat Award for regeneration and individual schemes within the development that pioneered attention to indoor environmental health and minimal environmental harm, Glencoe Clachan Visitor Centre – for it’s fittingness - realising the rarely achieved link between access and environmental protection. More recently; Acharacle Primary School – the first brettstapel building in the UK and; Plummerswood – the first (passive house certified)
brettstapel house in the UK. The Gaia network extended overtime to embrace the very best of those involved in ecological design and community development.
Howard co-founded the Scottish Ecological Design Association in 1991, and remained active within the organisation throughout his career. SEDA’s primary aim is to share knowledge, skills and experience of ecological design.
Howard also found time to undertake extensive charity work, most notably as a founder member of the EcoCity Projects, a partnership between Gaia and The Children's Parliament where children aged between 9 - 12 are supported to create a large scale model of their environmentally-friendly community.
Witnessing children's enthusiastic and informed participation, Howard became a strong advocate for children's participation. The first EcoCity had a Children's Parliament at its centre, an idea that Howard supported and within 4 years of the first project, Howard became a Trustee of Scotland's Children's Parliament and remained so until the past few months.
Howard also led a group of skilled volunteers to Tanzania in 2009 to complete a workshop building, a garden store, a well for agricultural and a deep well for clean drinking water for the charity, who provide training and healthcare for children affected by poverty and HIV/AIDS.
Howard’s passionate and tireless contribution to the world of ecological design debate, research, publication and built works will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure and honour of working for and alongside him.
He was an inspiration.