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In Memory of Tucker Bishop

Category: , Posted:24 Nov 2007 | 12:00 pm

Living on a small island such as Phuket, it's easy to get caught up in the cycle of life. Seeing friends marry, children being born, families growing up and people we know die – all of these play a central role in our lives.

The architect Tucker Bishop passed away November 8 at Bangkok Hospital Phuket. He was 57 years old. He leaves behind his wife K. Oy and many friends made over the past 13 years. He had been ill with a kidney-related illness for some time, although he continued to work right up until his death.

I had known Tucker for almost six years, from the time he worked on my business partner's project – Suan Tua in Layan. We then cooperated on a number of developments, including Bang Tao's Phuket Pavilions, East Coast Ocean Villas in Ao Por, Kata's Moevenpick Residence and Jumeirah Private Island Resort in Phang Nga Bay.Tucker completed projects in Europe and Japan, though he never strayed too far from his life here with K. Oy and their golden retriever.

Tucker's resort-development profile piled up with villas on the Loch Palm and Laguna Phuket golf courses, individual homes at Samsara and two stunning beachfront houses in Natai. One of Tucker's final projects, completed this year, was my own home in Kathu. His architectural style, which combined the traditional symmetry of icon Geoffrey Bawa with the use of modern lines and elements, became his trademark.

During my visits to Wat Chalong after Tucker's death, where his family, friends and colleagues had gathered along with his brother and sister form the US, I was able to walk among these people who were important in his life, seeing the names of so many familiar people on the wreaths and flowers.

It was a touching remembrance. His intelligence, humility as a skilled artist, creativity and sense of humor were lasting qualities. While never one to suffer fools, he always had to move on with his pressing work, though at many times we shared a joke. It's his smile I will remember most.

I am going to cut short this piece and let some pictures of Tucker and his work do the talking. Mere words cannot give ample creed to a skilled architect's work. It's the homes, villas, resorts and developments that represent his life's work and should be shown.

I'm not going to miss Tucker Bishop, not at all, because every time I want to visit him, all I have to do is get into my car and drive around Phuket. From north to south, east to west, I can see his work in the buildings he lovingly created. While Tucker is gone in body, he has left a footprint on the island that will live far into the future.

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