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Architect Profile

Richard Lauderdale Paxton (born 21 May 1956 in Cosford, Shropshire, died London 20 March 2006), was a famous English architect preoccupied with the issue of how new and old could be made to work together to regenerate the city of London.

Paxton was the only son, and one of four children, of a Royal Air Force officer. His parents, John and Pam, moved frequently on foreign postings during his childhood and Paxton, born on an RAF base in Shropshire, acquired a taste for travel and exotic places, Malaysia in particular. He was educated, however, at Brighton and Hove Grammar School, from where he entered the architecture school of Kingston University (then Polytechnic).

In 1985 Paxton established the practice of Paxton Locher, with Heidi Locher - who had trained at Kingston and the Royal College of Art, and had previously worked for Terence Conran - as his professional partner. The couple had met while still at school and married in 1987. Leaving ABK was a bold move and part-time teaching (at Kingston and the Bartlett School in London) initially underpinned the practice.

In 1996, with no previous experience of theatre design, the practice won the commission for the new Soho Theatre, a radical but far from extravagant conversion of a 1960s block in Dean Street, London, incorporating a redundant synagogue that was recast as the auditorium. The theatre opened in 2000.