Paul Coates (1945-2013)

It is with great regret that I am writing to inform you that Paul Coates passed away on Friday 14th June 2013. His funeral will be in London on the 27th June 2013.

Paul had a long history of research in our field that was both innovative and way ahead of its time. He was writing Generative Algorithms that produced automatic street layouts in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was working then on ideas that still have research currency today. Although an accomplished writer of code he was able to explain the underlying concepts and core ideas with great clarity.

He wrote one of the earliest computer graphics programmes for design, called Autograph, which was sold commercially for some years.

Paul did research at Liverpool University and taught at what was then Liverpool Polytechnic, before moving to London to establish one of the earliest Masters courses in Digital Architecture at The University of East London, which relied heavily on Paul’s skills and knowledge in Scripting and Generative modelling.

Paul presented work at conferences and in Journals, often with graduates from his Masters programme. He worked on collaborative projects such as the VIPA project with eCAADE colleagues Michael Mullins, Tadeja Zupancic, Christian Kühn and Orhan Kipcak that focussed on the conceptual design of virtual spaces.

One of his colleagues from that project, Tadeja Zupancic, describes him as the ‘ideal professor… with the power of personality and experience, able to identify, develop and explain complex situations and systems with – simple words and images.’

Paul survived a very serious accident about four years ago which resulted in a life threatening head injury. He was treated at Whittington hospital and BIRU. In typical style he posted this about his treatment centres:

‘If hospitals were like computers then the Whittington would be like an old ’60’s mainframe and BIRU would be a laptop.

The Whittington was a big multipurpose machine with huge staff departments, in old time interdisciplinary disputes whereas the brain injury rehabilitation unit was intended to be fast moving service provider.’

Paul will be sadly missed.

Professor André Brown