Patty Hopkins – Episode 12

On the programme this week is the architect Patty Hopkins.

Patty studied architecture at the Architectural Association where she met her future husband Michael Hopkins. After graduating from the AA Patty ran her own practice whilst Michael worked in partnership with Norman Foster. But in 1976 the couple decided to start their own firm together – which went on to become the firm now known as Hopkins Architects.

The practice has gone on to design hugely iconic buildings such as the 2012 Olympic Velodrome, Portcullis House providing offices for Members of Parliament, to Lords Cricket Ground and Glyndebourne Opera House, to name but a few.

In 1994 Patty and her husband Michael were jointly awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal for Architecture, the profession’s highest personal award

Of their early work, their own multi-award-winning home in Hampstead, which they built for themselves in 1976, with its lightweight steel structure and glass façade is an early example of the modern and high-tech style for which they would become known.

Another of the practice’s early work was Fleet Infant School, in Hampshire. The practice was commissioned by Colin Stansfield Smith, then Chief Architect at Hampshire County Council. Stansfield Smith, Sir Colin as he later became, was largely responsible for turning Hampshire into a beacon of exemplary-designed state schools.

A few weeks before our interview, and quite by chance, Fleet Infant’s School was given a Grade II listing by Historic England. The school also happens to be where your interviewer first went to school.

For this week’s episode we spoke to Patty in her home in Hampstead, where they founded the practice, and where the couple still live.