Posted Jan 17 2022 | By Matthew Goulcher

A tribute to Max Fordham

We were greatly saddened to hear that Max Fordham passed away on 4th January 2022. Max was a friend to David Levitt since their meeting in 1959 and our Practice since its founding in 1968. He has inspired so many of us with his creative and technical skill, infectious passion and humane attitude – a truly unique and wonderful person to work with.

Our studios grew up together. Max Fordham’s offices in Camden were very close to where we were based in the 1980s. Cullinan Studio was also nearby so there was a group of very like-minded people in a small area. Our practices very much shared the same ethos – a commitment to design but also to people, with a wider social responsibility.

We have been lucky enough to experience Max’s brilliance on many projects over the years, especially in housing and the arts. In the late ‘90s, CASPAR in Leeds was a particular design challenge which drew David and Max together – a project so ahead of its time in concept, design and construction. Typically, Max wanted to push the boundaries at every scale and created a bespoke MVHR unit with Tristan Couch. It even had a light bulb in its circuitry to provide electrical resistance... such joyous invention.

Some other key projects include Alexandra Road, with its very eccentric heating system cast into the concrete party walls and all the work on arts projects like the Royal Exchange Theatre, two venues in Stoke and LSO St Luke’s. More recently, we worked with his practice on Devonshire Park and we continue to work with them on numerous Passivhaus projects of all sizes.

The people-focused, creative and socially driven culture, which Max so clearly fostered, is visible and thriving in the practice today and shared by us all. He leaves behind such a wonderful legacy which we will continue together.

We send our support to his colleagues at such a sad time and our sincere condolences to Max’s family.

Please find below a short video which was produced by their practice in 2011.