Michael Manser, former president of RIBA, was widely recognised as an industry leader. He built his first house for his parents, and went on to establish a reputation for one off modernist houses, many of which have now been listed.
“I am very sorry to hear about Michael Manser’s sad death,” Stephen Hodder, RIBA’s immediate past president, said. “Michael designed some of the most breathtaking and inspiring one-off houses of the late twentieth century, built in his pure, modernist style. He championed well-designed housing throughout his career, encouraging the public to demand and mass house builders to supply better designed homes – for many years the RIBA presented an annual housing prize in his name, the Manser Medal. Michael’s work is an inspiration to so many and he will be greatly missed. I for one will miss his wonderful anecdotes, his wise counsel and warm smile.”
Tony Chapman FRIBA, former RIBA Head of Awards said, “The sad death of Michael Manser marks an end point in British modernism as applied to domestic architecture. The best of his houses from the 60s, 70s and 80s with their rational plans and brave use of generous near-frameless glazing showed him to be the English heir to Mies. Michael continued to be as excited by new ideas in architecture as he was angered by bad ideas and bad buildings. He took the subject seriously, never more so than when judging houses for the prize on his name.
“He was generous and encouraging to younger architects, particularly those on whom he detected some sign of the same spark that drove his own young projects. For all that his modernism was rooted in the past, in the classicism of the eighteenth an early nineteenth centuries. Those of us who spent much time on his company – and what a pleasure that was – heard his views on the primacy of proportion in Regency architecture hundreds of times. But equally he admired those who pushed against the rules, particularly when laid down by planners. His other bete noir was the British Housebuilder and he saw at one of the major tasks of his later life to reward examples of the work good architects who set higher benchmarks for all housing. We will probably not see his like again.”