Lives in Architecture: Nigel Coates

Lives in Architecture: Nigel Coates

Spanning lost loves and a prolific design career: from Tokyo bars and Liberty to the Body Zone at the Millennium Dome.

Architecture Book of the Year Awards 2023 | Highly commended: Nigel Coates (RIBA Publishing, Lives in Architecture series).

Citation: Making his name early at the AA, Nigel Coates set out to liberate architecture from its macho-techno stays, leaping theatrically beyond PoMo’s stilted puns. For which he remains unforgiven, despite the enthusiasm with which his accessible, emotive ‘narrative’ architecture was embraced, particularly in Tokyo. He presents himself in a scenography of shifting taste and style, pedagogic and professional, subtly undermined (no more than hinted at) by prejudice and naysaying. There is surely no other architect who could with such brio, drop so many names from the cultural demi-monde. Written in his house above Italy’s Val d’Orcia in the pandemic, the book’s mood of quiet reflection provides a gentle coda to a hitherto hectic life. Coates provides a vivid, perceptive account of a key period in which the orthodoxies had a run for their money. A thoughtful, generous, rebel-with-a-cause dedicated to the hedonistic challenging of mediocrity and conformity. Bravo.

Judges: Eric Parry; Lee Mallett; Gillian Darley

Available through the RIBA bookshop