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London Olympics Designer John Hopkins Dies Suddenly at 59

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Hopkins
John Hopkins, a visionary landscape architect who directed the team that created the 250-acre green space for the 2012 London Olympics from a former brownfield site, died on Jan. 21 in West Philadelphia after a heart attack at age 59.

Hopkins led the design as project lead for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). The nearly $400-million park is reopening in phases, beginning this summer, as the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park.

Hopkins, also an urban designer and environmental planner, is a former partner in LDA Design, London, and a Fellow of the U.K.'s Landscape Institute. His awards include the institute's Peter Youngman Award for outstanding contribution to the field.

Most recently, he was a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and at the University of Greenwich, London.

Hopkins was "pivotal in shaping and delivering our vision of an important new park, transforming this part of London," said Sir John Armitt, former ODA director, who joined U.K. transportation firm National Express as chairman in November 2012.

Hopkins co-authored a new book, published in January, on the making of the Queen Elizabeth park and at the time of his death, was writing another on environmental politics and ecological economics called The Global Garden—Ecological Economics and Infrastructure, says LDA.

"John’s intellectual and inspirational approach to landscape architecture and his rare and special talent in communicating his ideas will be remembered by all who knew him," the firm adds in a statement on its website.

Adds Marilyn Jordan Taylor, dean of the Philadelphia university's School of Design, "John was a strong advocate for landscape architecture's potential to reorient the world economy based on environmental capacity and global equity through planning and design."

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