Paul Scott – gifted architect, inspirational mentor, and devoted husband and father – tragically passed away on Sunday, 24 January, age 50, after an all-too-short but courageous battle with cancer.
Paul was passionate about architecture and had an exceptional career that spanned some 30 years. His professional achievements were not limited to the buildings he designed but the deep passion for architecture he instilled in others. Paul was a naturally gifted architect who led by example and inspired a generation of young architects who had the good fortune to engage with and learn from him. His technical expertise, love of design and professional influence reached far and wide, touching clients, colleagues and collaborators alike.
Over his career, Paul developed a commendable portfolio of projects that improved social inclusion and prompted community regeneration. He gained considerable expertise in the design of tall buildings in particular, and was invited many times to be a keynote speaker at conferences on the subject across the world, including in Shanghai, Barcelona and London. Here he addressed the great and the good of tall building design, including its role in urban design and ability to mitigate the impact of population growth. Paul was also an external examiner at The University of Nottingham’s acclaimed master’s course on sustainable tall buildings.
I first met Paul at Foster + Partners in 1991, when I interviewed him and immediately offered him a position in the office. His infectious, engaging manner was immensely refreshing. He started working on the Commerzbank in Frankfurt and lived there for a year before returning to London to play a key role on the ARAG Tower in Dusseldorf. During this time, he also was responsible for helping realise the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow. It was while working together on The Gherkin for Swiss Re in London – for which Paul led the architectural team – that we became lifelong friends. Paul subsequently relocated to Cheltenham to work for Glenn Howells Architects in Birmingham, while I went on to start Make. When Make won the bid to design The Cube in Birmingham, I called him immediately to entice him to join.
Paul joined Make as a partner in 2005 and quickly became a key member of our senior team. He established our Birmingham studio and led The Cube team until the project completed, then returned to the London office, where he worked on many of our most complex buildings, including the Thomas Clarkson Academy in Wisbech, the Montpellier Chapter hotel in his hometown of Cheltenham, and The Temple House hotel in Chengdu, China. Paul had always wanted to work with his friend Robin Partington, and at one point left Make to do so. The door was left very firmly open for him to return, and we were very glad when he did a short time later. In the years that followed, he led the design development of some of our highest-profile projects, including 40 Leadenhall Street in London, Wynyard Place in Sydney, Aranya in Mumbai, and Arena Central in Birmingham.
Among Paul’s many passions outside of work were his love of fly fishing and unwavering support for Tottenham Hotspur. In the same way he roused his colleagues with his love for architecture, Paul inspired his friends to share in his enthusiasm for his personal hobbies – I, along with many others, was introduced to the joys of fly fishing through him.
Above all else, though, was Paul’s love for and dedication to his family. He was a devoted husband and a proud father. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, particularly his wife Jane and teenage daughters Isabella and Annie, at this bewilderingly sad and terrible time.
Paul was always smiling and had an energetic, seemingly never-ending enthusiasm for life. He was a true gentleman, always kind and patient with everyone. Nothing was ever too much trouble for him. When he found out, just over three months ago, that he had cancer, he remained incredibly positive and dignified at all times. He still came to work in between treatments and stayed active on his current projects, determined to stay helpful as long as he could. He never gave up the fight to keep going, and we had all hoped he would be with us for longer. He was far too young to leave us last week.
Paul’s legacy of celebrated buildings, inspirational mentoring and wonderful memories will remain with all of those who knew and worked with him. He will be sorely missed by us all at Make and beyond. He was quite simply one of a kind – kind to a fault and entirely unique.