M.J. Long (1)

I have been slightly shocked at how little information is easily available about M.J. Long, who died at the weekend. I think of her as one of the more serious and thoughtful of older generation architects, quite apart from the work she did with her husband, Sandy Wilson, working on the British Library and its later developments. No Wikipedia entry. No entry in Who’s Who. Anyway, she was born in 1939 and studied in Yale in the mid-1960s, where, I think, she was a star student at the time that Richard Rogers and Norman Foster were there as postgraduates and where she attracted the attention of Sandy Wilson, who taught as a Visiting Professor from Cambridge in 1964. They designed Christopher Cornford’s programmatic Spring House in Cambridge together in 1965 and married in 1972. I think she always maintained her own architectural practice, which flourished in the 1990s, jointly with Rolfe Kentish, when Sandy Wilson stopped getting any commissions owing to the controversies surrounding the British Library. She did a whole series of artists’ studios, including those for Auerbach and Kitaj, renovated a complex of buildings for Paul and Susie Allen-Huxley in Hammersmith and the Porthmeor Studios in St. Ives. I haven’t seen, but know that the Maritime Museum in Falmouth is a major work. I have seen and greatly admire the work she and Sandy did to help house his art collection at Pallant House in Chichester. She was working on Sandy’s Masterplan for the RA when I arrived in 2007. This all seems to me to add up to a highly significant career, which should be celebrated, whilst lamenting the sad fact of her death.

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5 thoughts on “M.J. Long (1)

  1. Mark Fisher says:

    It’s a (last, I hope) example of gender bias among artists and architects. She was an outstandingly good architect and her Maritime Museum in Falmouth is as original, in its one way, as David Chipperfield’s River and Rowing Museum in Henley.

  2. Sailing up the Carrick Roads or approaching along Arwenack St and through the grim Car park the Maritime museum stands out as a fascinating, adventurous building. It somehow manages to impart a bit of the excitement and romance of Falmouth Harbour as home to all those Buccaneers, Pirates and Adventurers who made it home in their small and very tall ships. A really good piece of architecture and from the visitors perspective, a very good Museum.

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