Adrian Cave: Architect who worked for better disabled access

 

Adrian Cave, who has died from cancer, was an immensely creative and fun person to be with. An architect and town planner, he did much work on improving access for the disabled. He was born in Great Bromley, Essex in 1935 and was educated at Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire – a county he came to love deeply. He did his national service with the 1st Singapore Regiment Royal Artillery in Malaya, where he also did parachute training with the SAS. During his leave, always keen on adventure, he walked through the Borneo jungle.

He trained as an architect at the Northern Polytechnic and then at the Architectural Association, where he also did a postgraduate diploma in town planning. He worked for the Ministry of Housing between 1964 and 1968, and it was while doing a project for them in Sheffield that he came into contact with asbestos, the probable cause of the mesothelioma which was diagnosed in 2008. He worked for the Shankland Cox partnership for 20 years, and was a partner there until he started his own practice, Adrian Cave Associates, in 1989.

This was the beginning of his involvement with access for the disabled – "access with elegance" is how he put it. Over the years he worked on many major projects, improving access for the disabled at Westminster Abbey, the Royal Festival Hall, Strawberry Hill and the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, where, with the approval of English Heritage, he installed a lift concealed behind 18th-century panelling to serve the main Dining Hall, which is used daily by the residents.

With David Bonnett Associates he worked on Crossrail, Tate Modern, the Olympic Village, Trafalgar Square and many other projects. In 2003 he made Nicholas Hawksmoor's last church, St George's, Bloomsbury, accessible to the disabled by installing platform lifts at the side of the church with minimal and reversible alterations to the historic structure. He was also instrumental in removing pedestrian barriers at Oxford Circus and most recently he worked with Jeremy Dixon on the revamp of Exhibition Road.

It seems extraordinary that it was only in 1987 that all new public buildings required level access and it wasn't until 1995 that the Disability Discrimination Act went on to include all new buildings. In 2002 he became the first member of the National Register of Access Consultants, which he had been instrumental in setting up, and was advisor to the RIBA on Disability, Access and Inclusive Environments.

He was just as committed to local community projects and was the founding chair of the Lido Centre for social entrepreneurs and charities in Ealing, for which he received the OBE. His last project was developing a community pub in Carlton for the villages of Coverdale in North Yorkshire, where he and his wife, Felicity, who he married in 1964, had restored a laithe house. He also worked for clients in France, Nigeria, Cameroon, Liberia, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman and Malaysia.

He published three books concerning disability access: Planning and Design Guide for Community Based Day Care Centres (1992, with Janice Brown), Inclusive Accessible Design (2007) and Museums and Art Galleries (2007), a volume in the Making Existing Buildings Accessible series published by RIBA.

Together, Adrian and Felicity, a Russian expert, arranged magical tours for their friends and acquaintances to St Petersburg. Along with copious amounts of vodka, every day was full of surprises; organising a disparate group of 20 independent-minded people cannot have been easy, but the Caves somehow managed it with great aplomb. They also took groups on architectural walks of various parts of London, with Adrian giving succinct and interesting talks. He wore his knowledge lightly and knew as much about flora and fauna as about buildings, all of which made him the ideal walking companion, be it in the East End of London, Tuscany or visiting the painted churches of Romania.

I first met Adrian in a yoga class – he practised regularly and for several years had been meditating daily. He bore his last weeks of cancer with characteristic bravery and good humour.

Sarah Anderson

Adrian Cave, architect and town planner: born Great Bromley, Essex 18 October 1935; OBE 2009; married 1964 Felicity (two children); died 16 January 2012.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sales Director, Edgeware, Middlesex

£55 - £70K OTE £120k Plus Car: Charter Selection: Major multi-million pound la...

Citrix - 3rd Line Support

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Citrix Specialist required by leading IT...

Microsoft Specialist - 3rd/4th Line Support

Negotiable: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a Microsoft, VMware and Citrix...

Sales and Maketing Manager, St Albans, Hertfordshire

£55 - £70K OTE £130k Plus Car: Charter Selection: Major multi-million pound la...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor