It is with deep sadness that we have to announce the death of David Marks, architect of The Lightbox.

David, with his wife Julia Barfield won the design competition for the building in 2003 and went on to design our wonderful gallery. He embraced the ethos for a stunning but accessible and welcoming building. Marilyn Scott Director said yesterday, ‘David was a kind gentle man who always understood what we wanted for The Lightbox and facilitated our whole team to achieve the very best. With Julia he created our dream and we will always be grateful to him’.

Marks Barfield Architects co-founder David Marks, best known for designing the London Eye with his wife and practice partner Julia Barfield, has died, aged 64

The architect, who worked for Richard Rogers before founding the London-based firm with Barfield in 1989, died on Friday morning (6 October) following a long illness. He had been suffering from cancer.

Born on 15 December 1952 in Stockholm, Marks grew up in Geneva and in 1972 moved to London to attend the Architectural Association School. It was here he met Barfield, a fellow student and neighbour, and the pair married in 1981. 

Together they created a series of well-known landmarks, including the London Eye, the Treetop Walkway at Kew, the British Airways i360 in Brighton and The Lightbox in Woking. Marks was famously entrepreneurial and often took responsibility for driving forward many of the practice’s high-profile schemes and, with Barfield’s support, sharing the financial risk of projects.

Speaking to The Sunday Times in July 2016, Marks said: ‘Architects don’t stop, they just go on building things until they run out of breath.’

He added: ‘Julia and I never get sick of each other. We’ve been married for 35 years and I can’t put into words how much I love her.’

Remembering Marks, Richard Rogers said: ’I knew David for many years. He was an integral part of the team, helping us deliver the Lloyds Building.

‘David and Julia both changed London’

’Strong in views and ethics, passionate about architecture, to which his contribution has been enormous. David and Julia both changed London.

‘Only last week I went with the office to Brighton to celebrate their beautiful observation tower.’

He added: ’I’ll miss David - the handsome man with the wonderful smile.’

Hanif Kara of engineers AKT II said: ‘David was a gentle giant and, though we will mostly remember him for putting the UK on the global map with the London Eye and i360 tower. He gifted us with his patience and determination to change the value of our industry.

’We spoke often about his drive to transform practice and education of engineers and I was always inspired and learned a lot  with each conversation. I will miss him very dearly and my deepest sympathy and thoughts are with his family and all those close to him.’

Marks Barfield Architects is set to continue under the leadership of Barfield and directors Ian Rudolph, Gemma Collins, Ian Crockford and Magali Thompson.

According to the firm, the directors had already been working with Marks and Barfield ‘to ensure a smooth succession for the future of the practice’.

Marks leaves three children. Details of a memorial will be announced in due course.