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Architect Hidalgo Moya, Designer Of The Skylon, Is Dead At 74

August 8, 1994

LONDON (AP) _ Hidalgo Moya, an award-winning architect who designed a soaring, 300-foot- tall reflective needle to symbolize Britain’s postwar hopes, has died at age 74.

Moya died Wednesday at Hastings, 50 miles southeast of London, his family said. No cause of death was given.

Born in Los Gatos, Calif., of an English mother and a Mexican father, Moya was brought to Britain when he was a year old.

He became an architect in 1943 and three years later, he and his partner, Philip Powell, won a major competition to design the Churchill Gardens housing project in London’s Pimlico district.

Bordering the River Thames, the development reflected British optimism after World War II. The apartment buildings resembled liners about to be launched into the river and were marked by an overall air of gaiety, relieving some of the austerity of postwar London.

The structure that established Moya’s reputation was designed for the Festival of Britain, a showcase of British arts, design and technology intended to boost the nation’s morale.

Moya and Powell’s Skylon entry won a nationwide competition for a temporary structure to symbolize the fair, which was held on the South Bank of the Thames.

The 300-foot-tall, needle-like structure soared into the air from a point 40 feet above the ground, symbolizing Britain’s desire to leave austerity behind and head to a brighter future. Sheathed in aluminum, Skylon was reflected in the Thames and shone in the night sky.

His reputation established, Moya went on to design schools, hospitals, university facilities, a picture gallery and other buildings, many of which reflected his interest in sculpture.

Moya’s passion for engineering revived in 1970 when he designed the British pavilion for the Expo-70 international trade fair in Osaka, Japan. Four 120- foot-high steel towers raised the four exhibition halls off the ground and created an architectural vogue for suspended structures.

Moya retired in 1990.

His first marriage ended in divorce in 1985. He is survived by two daughters and a son of that marriage and by his second wife Jean, whom he married in 1988.

Funeral arrangements were not announced.

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