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Obituary: Hank Dittmar

TAG is saddened to learn about the passing of leading urbanist Hank Dittmar, who died last month at the age of 62.

The director of Hank Dittmar Associates was a former chief executive of the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community between 2005 and 2013.

Hank provided advice to former London mayor Boris Johnson and served on the advisory panel for Terry Farrell’s review of architecture and the built environment in 2013. 

Robert Adam, director of Adam Architecture, said Dittmar was not only ‘a pivotal figure’ in the development of the Prince’s Foundation but also one of the key figures in the early days of the new urbanism movement in the United States. 

Adam said: ‘The new urbanism movement had a considerable impact on places like Poundbury [the Dorset town backed by Prince Charles] but I think it’s more than that. It really began in the early 90s and it was really one of the founding organisations behind what I now call “contextual urbanism”. Hank had a very significant part to play in that.'

Francis Terry, Chairman of the Traditional Architecture Group said:

‘Hank was a great supporter of TAG and his contribution to the debate on urbanism allowed a large and diverse audience to hear the positive attributes of traditional architecture. I, like many TAG members, will remember him as a kind and gentle friend who has worked so hard to promote ideas we all hold dear.’

Hank’s family said he died of a heart attack in his sleep and had been undergoing drug trials for stage 4 cancer. 

They said in a statement: ‘Hank’s love of music, literature and art filled his life with joy. He was moved to tears by beauty. Hank nurtured friendships spanning continents and decades. His positivity in the face of adversity aided his tireless work to better the world. As a father and husband his resilience and humour will always remain an inspiration.’

 

SImon Hurst