A rebel heart stilled: death of Michael Sorkin
Today I received the distressing news of the death of revered New York architect and Belfast ally Michael Sorkin.
Michael passed away on Thursday 26 March after contracting the Coronavirus. Belfast architect and associate Ciarán Mackel has penned a tribute this morning on the Belfast Media website.
Michael was a mainstay of the New York-New Belfast conference where his address to our first-ever gathering in 2011 was the truly memorable Nine Fabulous Things About New York.
At the 2014 Conference in the Big Apple, he launched a new book on the “indictment” which is the Belfast ‘peace walls’.
He visited Belfast frequently, working closely with the University of Ulster and was commissioned to carry out a major reimagining of Belfast city centre by the Stormont Executive in 2016. You can see more of that work on his Sorkin Studio website. His homage to New York, ‘Twenty Minutes in Manhattan’ is regarded as one of the greatest works of modern urbanism.
Michael last joined our band of Belfast boosters at the New York-New Belfast conference in June 2019 at Pier A in Manhattan where he departed from script to deliver a broadside against Brexit! He then bolted for the door — but not before I managed to inveigle him into a selfie, which you see below, with myself and Elizabeth Crowley of Queens.
You can read more about Michael Sorkin’s contribution to global architecture and urbanism in this tribute.
An iconoclast, a gifted architect and an idealist, Michael Sorkin will be sorely missed.
Our condolences to his heartbroken wife Joan K. Copjec and family. Suaimhneas síoraí go raibh aige.