Retired BDP chief executive, who engineered Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral, has died
Tributes have been paid to BDP’s former chief executive Jack Rodin who has died aged 88.
Rodin was an engineer whose best-known projects included Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral and who also gave evidence at the Ronan Point inquiry.
He founded civil and structural engineering practice Lowe and Rodin with James Lowe in 1960. A decade later the pair later merged with architects BDP.
Rodin’s funeral took place on New Year’s Eve at Eltham Crematorium in south-east London.
Obituary by Ken Milburn, former BDP partner
Jack Rodin was born in 1926, the son of Mark, a cooper in Stepney London, and Sarah. He was the fifth of seven children, four boys and three girls. He was academically gifted and did well at school, going on to study civil and structural engineering at King’s College London where he gained a first class honours degree. One of his first projects out of university was as resident engineer on the hydro-electric power plant at Pitlochry in Scotland.
In 1960, with his partner James Lowe, he founded Lowe and Rodin, a successful civil and structural engineering practice. The firm designed the structures for a variety of buildings in England and Scotland, notably Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral with architect Sir Frederick Gibberd and many high-rise concrete structures. In collaboration with OTH of Paris, Lowe and Rodin developed the Tracoba system of large panel high-rise construction for use in the UK. Using Intergrid, a concrete frame system, Jack was instrumental in the design and adaptation of industrialised building on a variety of projects in the 1960s. His expertise was in demand as an expert witness, notably at the Ronan Point inquiry, which led to a rethink of construction methods and the dangers of gas in high rise structures.
In 1971 Lowe and Rodin merged with Building Design Partnership (BDP) an interdisciplinary design practice with whom they had collaborated on rebuilding the Aldershot military town. The merger strengthened BDP’s engineering capability and, in Jack Rodin, the firm gained a partner of considerable stature who made a significant contribution to the management and strategic thinking of BDP as well as to engineering design.
In addition to his engineering input on a number of BDP projects – the Channel Tunnel terminal and Morgan Bank HQ come to mind – he played a major role in the leadership of the firm. This was initially as a managing partner and later, after leading the reorganisation of the partnership towards corporate lines, as chief executive from 1981 until 1988 and his retirement in 1989.
Jack was a prominent and highly regarded member of several professional institutions through which he contributed much to the civil and structural engineering profession. He was awarded a CBE in 1992 for services to engineering.
From humble beginnings Jack Rodin achieved success and a high reputation as an engineer and a businessman. He was a man of great intellect who had that rare blend of formidable brain power and warm humility. He was a good mentor who would take time to encourage and bring out the best in others. He had a lively sense of humour and was always good company, especially on long business trips away from home.
He was devoted to his family and owed much to his loving wife, Liz, who brought up the family while Jack was often away and took care of him in later life. As well as Liz, he leaves daughters Penny and Sarah, son Jonathan and five granddaughters. He is missed by us all and will be remembered with great affection.