Nick Davis, formerly senior partner of Davis Langdon & Everest, died on 16 November, aged 75, after a long illness

Nick Davis

Tributes have been paid to former Davis Langdon leader and partner Nick Davis, who died on 16 November, aged 75, after a long illness.

Davis was a former senior partner of Davis Langdon & Everest, which became Davis Langdon in 2004.

Davis Langdon & Everest was formed out of the 1988 merger of Davis, Belfield & Everest – set up by Nick Davis’ father Owen Davis in 1944 – and Langdon and Every.

Davis worked on a number of major projects including the British Library and housing schemes in Milton Keynes.

His former colleague Paul Morell, who was senior partner at Davis Langdon from 1999 to 2007, paid tribute to Davis, describing him as “a high achiever” who was “gifted, relentlessly hard-working and highly competitive”. Davis was “perhaps still the only person to have circumnavigated the continent of Australia on a Lambretta,” Morell said.

Read Paul Morrell’s full obituary below.

Nick Davis

It was my great good fortune to work in partnership with Nick for about 25 years, seeing the firm of Davis Belfield & Everest (as it was) grow from a UK-only business of about 400 people into an international operation of more than 4,000 people following the 1988 merger with Langdon & Every.

DB&E was founded and built up by Nick’s father, Owen. But to me, he was not just the second generation of the business, but also the first generation of a new way of doing business. As David Thurlow, formerly Professor of Architecture at Cambridge University, put it to me,

Nick was no brick counter: he was a strategist, always seeing a way forward and giving creative advice as to how to make good buildings within the eternal constraint of budget. His respect for architects and architecture, and the almost unfailingly good-humoured way in which he passed on that advice, became an integral part of the firm’s culture and many of those with whom he worked became friends.

He worked on some of the country’s great projects, such as the British Library and many housing projects in Milton Keynes and elsewhere; but he was every bit as dedicated on much smaller schemes, often with architects to whom he had taught the realities of professional practice at the Cambridge School of Architecture (he was a good teacher). And at an even smaller scale, home was always a construction site.

Gifted, relentlessly hard-working and highly competitive, Nick was always a high achiever. Educated at Sherborne, he became head boy and, having got three A levels in the arts, he passed the time until going up to Cambridge by getting three more in the sciences.

At Cambridge, he obtained a degree in Urban Land Economy, represented the university in squash and ice hockey (which he allegedly took up because the remoteness of the ice rink meant that players were uniquely entitled to own a car and return late to college – but then, of course, he couldn’t help being good at it), and made life-long friends. And it is principally through friends that one might learn of his achievements, as he was never one to shout about them.

He liked travel, adventure and driving - and adventurous driving, and is perhaps still the only person to have circumnavigated the continent of Australia on a Lambretta. Who else might think that an irresistible idea?

Most of all, though, his life was about work, buildings, friends and family. He will be missed by all, and particularly by his wife Gill, and his children Austen and Christa.

Paul Morrell