Roger Kelly obituary

Other lives: Architect who gave priority to the environment

My father, Roger Kelly, who has died aged 72 of cancer, was an environmental architect, passionate about demonstrating how buildings can be designed to enhance the environment, not play a part in its destruction.

He spent five years in the 1980s in Cyprus designing buildings and helping to protect the Akamas area as a future national park, then became the director of the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in mid-Wales from 1987 until 1997. After leaving CAT he worked on the Ecovillages project in France and the EcoPeace village in Cyprus. Latterly he ran Energy Solutions, a company based in north London helping local authorities to reduce energy use in their buildings.

Roger was born in Reading, the son of Colm and Muriel Kelly, both teachers, and went to school at Wimbledon college, south-west London. He showed a great enthusiasm for constructing things from an early age, making his own crystal radio set and fixing motorbikes, and as a bright pupil who sat his exams early decided to challenge himself and study architecture.

At Canterbury School of Architecture he met Maritsa Avramides and they married in 1970, going on to have three children, Anna, Joe and me. After further studies in London at Regent Street Polytechnic, Roger worked in Bristol for Project Planning Architects and then Solon SW Housing Association. He taught architecture at Bath University and campaigned successfully to save the historic Trinity area of Frome, Somerset, from demolition.

In 1977 he taught sustainable architecture at Hull School of Architecture before returning to Somerset in 1979 to work on a sustainable village report for Kilmersdon. Maritsa was of Greek Cypriot descent, and in 1982 our family moved to Neokhorio, Cyprus, where my father restored an old village house for us to live in and undertook architectural projects. Until the last months of his life he was contributing ideas for the Famagusta Ecocity Project.

Later he and Maritsa divided their time between London and Wales. When I moved to Merseyside, Dad set about looking for old properties to restore in the area and in 2010 found the Old House, Wallasey. He restored it singlehandedly over the next six years, and received a certificate of recognition from Historic England Angel awards, of which he was very proud.

An ardent cyclist, he believed and demonstrated that you could leave a minimal ecological footprint through adopting simple lifestyles. His only eco-vice was riding and tinkering with motorcycles.

Dad was a member of different amateur theatre groups over the years, including Hand in Hand, which in 2015 was one of six companies selected to perform at the RSC in Stratford. When in London, he would pore over the Guardian Guide, making plans for visiting exhibitions, films and concerts and, until very recently, volunteered as a guide at Sutton House, Hackney, and the Ranger’s House, Greenwich.

He is survived by Maritsa, Anna, Joe and me, and four grandchildren.

Tom Kelly

The GuardianTramp

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