Press Clippings

Press Clippings

During Max's life and passing, his projects, innovations, and the practice he founded gained the attention of a wide variety of news organisations, from industry magazines to national newspapers. Click on the links below to read the full articles...

The Sad News of Max's passing (2022):

  • The Guardian: "Max Fordham Obituary"
    "Max Fordham, who has died aged 88, changed the way that buildings in Britain are heated, lit, powered and ventilated more than any other engineer of his generation. Trained in the sciences, he brought a new creative and intellectual rigour to the problems of plumbing and wiring, bringing the disparate building services trades together in a single holistic approach. Tackling problems from first principles, he founded his practice on the idea of engineers embedding scientific knowledge in the art of building design, in a way that has since become ubiquitous."

  • CIBSE Journal: "Max Fordham: 1933 - 2022"
    "[Max's] obsession with engineering was evident at the 2016 CIBSE Building Performance Conference. He told delegates that ‘the intensity and the fun of the design process’ is what he enjoyed most.’ He remembered a project that gave him the chance to rethink the sizing of pipes. ‘Guidance of the time was leading to absurdly oversized pipes. I decided on another method, which gave me a terrific buzz,’ he said."

  • RIBA Journal: "Max Fordham, 1933-2022" by Peter Clegg
    "Max Fordham had a transformational influence on building design. He started out as a heating engineer, became a services designer, introduced us to building physics and was at the forefront of sustainability before the word was in common currency. He was a polymath with an enquiring mind that knew few boundaries."

  • The Architects' Journal: "Pioneering engineer and 'green guru' Max Fordham dies aged 88"
    "The founder of the eponymous and pioneering engineering business, [Max] Fordham worked with many of the UK’s leading architects during a career spanning more than six decades."

  • Architecture Today: "Max Fordham Obituary"
    "Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects remarked “so many giants of the construction industry are falling. Max was undoubtedly a giant of engineering, a pioneer of sustainable design, an original thinker and a pleasure to work with with.”"

  • Architecture Today: "Tribute to Max Fordham, by Clare Wright"
    "Working on a design with Max was like playing an impromptu duet with a brilliantly inventive and empathetically responsive virtuoso. He was always fully present and engaged, bubbling with infectious laughter; he was relaxed in exploring ideas, which could stray, often productively, outside the parameters of the task. Yet the solutions reached together, though they might be extremely inventive, were always practical and often simple."

  • BD Online: "Tributes paid as engineer Max Fordham dies aged 88"
    "Paying tribute, Prasad, who was taught by a “mesmerising” Fordham at Cambridge University before going on to collaborate with him over many years on projects such as Snape Maltings in Suffolk, called him “an absolute giant”. “He was a complete one-off and a huge inspiration,” said the Penoyre & Prasad co-founder. “He brought lateral thinking to a field which you don’t usually associate with imagination. He was always innovating, always seeking. “He was so open, unassuming and humble and had a fantastic giggle. It was such a privilege to work with him.”

  • Building: "A Tribute to Max Fordham"
    "The pioneering building services engineer was that rare person, a highly original and inventive thinker in a notoriously conservative industry"

  • Dezeen: "British engineer Max Fordham dies aged 88"
    "Max Fordham, a British engineer and "pioneer of sustainable building design", has passed away at the age of 88."

  • Camden New Journal: "Max Fordham, Alexandra estate engineer who designed and built his own home"
    "Professor Max Fordham, who has died aged 88, was born in Camden, poured many hours of his professional life into buildings around the borough – and passed away in the Camden Town home he had designed and built himself."

Max's House becoming the first net zero carbon verified home:

The Completion of Max's Passivhaus Home (2019):

  • CIBSE Journal: "The Passivhaus that Max Fordham built"
    "Max Fordham’s House will leave a lasting legacy. Not only because it was built to the Passivhaus standard, but also because the scheme features innovative insulated shutters, which Fordham hopes will become an energy efficiency solution for future retrofit and low-cost housing projects."

  • Passive House+: "Legendary Engineer builds engine-less home"
    "With this stunning, award-winning passive house in Camden, the legendary engineer... has produced a simple and beautiful urban home with no wet heating system that draws on his lifetime of work applying the principles of simplicity, practicality and replicability to the design of building services."

  • Financial Times: "Inside the Camden eco-home with energy bills of £200 a year" (subscription required)
    "Max Fordham has a thing about heat. The acclaimed physicist and services engineer has spent decades designing heating systems for projects ranging from council housing to the Royal Festival Hall. He talks at length about the sun, fossil fuels, the laws of thermodynamics and how, in the Industrial Revolution, heat - in the form of steam - displaced human labour.  So it is poignant that after many years of dreaming and planning, the 86-year­old has moved into a newly-built London home where he intends to live without any heating. His desire to do so is prompted by climate change arising from our carbon emissions. He has made sobering calculations. "Since life began on Earth, fossil fuels have been laid down at the rate of one gramme per second. In the last 60 years we have been using them at the rate of 500 tonnes per second," he says. "Yet we have the most enormous nuclear reactor in the sky giving us huge amounts of free energy. It is such a waste to use fossil fuels for heating:' "

The 50th Anniversary of the Practice (2016):

  • CIBSE Journal: "The industry pioneer who was ahead of his time"
    "[Max] is an inventive, brilliant engineer, who patented inventions and bought a new rigour to measuring building performance. He is also an engineering polymath. He brought together the separate disciplines of mechanical, electrical and public health engineering, and was one of the first to tackle building services design in an integrated way."

Max on the cover of CIBSE Journal, 2016


Featured Project

Max Fordham House