Industry pays its respects to the ‘energy, drive and vision’ behind award-winning practice Feilden Clegg Bradley

Tributes have been pouring in for architect Richard Feilden, founding partner of award-winning practice Feilden Clegg Bradley, who died this week in a tragic accident.

Feilden, one of the industry’s most successful and respected figures, was killed on Monday after being crushed by a tree he was felling at his home near Bath.

The accident occurred while Feilden was clearing a forest with a chainsaw near his home in Warleigh, Avon, to create a memorial glade for his father, who died only three months ago himself.

The tragedy has left the firm, which was crowned Architect of the Year at the inaugural Building Design Awards in November, in a state of shock. In a statement, Feilden Clegg Bradley said: “Richard was a huge figure in all our lives, on a personal level as much as through our work together. He had an immense appetite for life and the next challenge. He brought enthusiasm and vitality to everything he did at no matter what scale and we were frequently left in the wake of the legendary Feilden energy.”

Feilden, who was 54, was celebrated among his peers for founding and maintaining a firm that was noted for its commitment to sustainability and placemaking rather than iconic buildings.

Feilden’s partner Peter Clegg, with whom he set up the practice in 1978, said that the firm was dedicated to pursuing the ambitions Feilden had held for FCBA and seeing his goals achieved.

He said: “Richard was responsible for much of the drive, the energy and the vision of the practice. I have spent half my life in partnership with him, and the personal and professional loss is incalculable.”

Chris Higgins, estates director of University College Winchester, also paid tribute to the “college architect”. He said: “We called him [that] because he totally transformed the place. He touched the lives of so many people in so many places. This was in his ecological approach to architecture, in his ethics, where the integrity of his personality came through, and in his egalitarianism in running his practice.”

RIBA president George Ferguson, who had known Feilden since they set up firms in Bristol and Bath in their twenties, described his death as a tragic loss to architecture.

He said: “It’s absolutely tragic and we shall all miss him terribly. He showed that good architecture needn’t be showy or iconic. What is great about his practice is that, although Richard led from the front, it wasn’t reliant on one single person. They’re the one firm we lose to graciously.”

Ferguson also revealed that Feilden had been considering standing for RIBA president in the next elections. He had decided against it last time because he wanted to concentrate on his practice.

He leaves a widow, Tish, and three children, Jamie, Fergus and Rowan.