Tributes paid to award-winning Bury St Edmunds architect and Lego enthusiast Mark Savin who died suddenly aged just 39

PUBLISHED: 08:00 01 December 2016 | UPDATED: 12:46 01 December 2016

Mark Savin, 39, from Bury St Edmunds

Mark Savin, 39, from Bury St Edmunds


The sudden death of a young, creative and charitable Suffolk architect has left a community in shock, as tributes pour in to the Lego-mad classic-car enthusiast from Bury St Edmunds.

Mark Savin, 39, from Bury St Edmunds Mark Savin, 39, from Bury St Edmunds

Mark Savin died at his home on Sunday, November 27, aged just 39, despite telling his wife Sarah he felt fine shortly before he collapsed.

Colleagues of Mark, who was president elect of the Eastern Region Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), have spoken of the award-winning architect’s “incredible talent” and their sadness at a life taken “far too young”.

Sarah, 37, has been with Mark since 2002, with both moving from their home town of Chelmsford to Bury St Edmunds in 2004 and getting married in 2009.

“He was just absolutely amazing,” she said. “He was a wonderful man – I just feel so very lucky to have been Mark’s wife.

Mark Savin, 39, from Bury St Edmunds Mark Savin, 39, from Bury St Edmunds

“He was so brave, caring and inspirational and achieved so much in every part of his life.”

She said Mark, who founded his own firm Infinity Architects with friend of 16 years Aoife O’Gorman around two years ago, had spent the last year living his life to the full after a mountain biking crash in August 2015 nearly cost him his life.

“I was so happy that he made it through,” said Sarah, who works for Greene King. “After the crash we just felt he should live life to full and I think in this past year he really did.”

After the crash mark bought his dream car, a TVR T350 and got back cycling as soon as he could. His friends also sent him on a helicopter tour of London, a city with architecture he loved, after he had joked the only time he got to go in a helicopter he was unconscious in an air ambulance.

Mark, a Norwich City FC fan, led an active life before and after the crash and would often go on walks around Bury with Sarah.

One of his many passions was Lego, which as a four-year-old boy inspired him to become an architect. He even built his own Lego coffee table which sits at in their lounge at home.

Mark’s passion for architecture, and the Danish toy brick which inspired him, also came out in his work in schools where he would hold workshops to engage more children with his profession.

He lived a packed life and was a member of the Suffolk TVR Owners Club and the Athenaeum Astronomy Association alongside his charity work for St Nicholas Hospice Care. He also had a passion for cycling and brewed beer from a shed in his garden. He came to Bury to work for renowned architect Max Milburn.

“I am just going to miss him so sorely,” added Sarah. “We are planning his funeral and it will be a real celebration of his life and everything that he loved. It will be held in Bury – we had such a lovely life here and Mark and I love the town.”

Best friend and business partner Aoife O’Gorman said his legacy will live on in the buildings he has designed, such as the innovative Tree House in Great Barton.

She explained that on Friday last week she had called an ambulance for Mark after he became unwell at work. He was admitted to hospital but hours of tests found nothing wrong.

By Sunday he was feeling fine again, and had told Sarah he felt good and was going to take his “pride and joy” TVR T350 out for a drive later. A short while later he was found collapsed in the shower at home.

“39 is just wrong – he has been taken far too young,” said Aoife. “He was incredibly talented and always strived to advance the practice and push boundaries – he was certainly not a ‘copy and paste’ architect.

“He was not just my business partner, we were best friends and I can’t put into words the huge loss this is. His positive and always-optimistic personality was infectious.”

Mark is survived by his wife Sarah, brother Paul, 37, and his father Nick, aged 70.

‘We bonded over a shared love of cars and cycling’

Barry Denny, of Denny Bros printing, has been a client of Mark Savin across a whole range of projects for several years, including Denny Bros’ headquarters in Bury.

He said: “He was incredibly talented. He was in the prime of his career and I am sure he would have gone on to make quite a name for himself not just in Suffolk.

“Even though we worked together on a professional basis, I came to consider him a friend. We bonded over a shared love of cars and cycling.”

Mark is survived by his wife Sarah, brother Paul, 37, and his father Nick, aged 70.

Passion for helping St Nicholas Hospice

Mark Savin’s work for St Nicholas Hospice Care was a cause close to his heart, as his mother had died from cancer at quite a young age.

He was a member of the organising committee for the annual Classic Cars by the Lake fundraiser.

Chairman of the committee Austin Cornish, managing director of Bury Developments, said Mark was a key part of the committee for several years.

“It such tragic news,” he said. “Professionally we have used his architectural services as well, he was a real creative talent. It is devastating and a huge loss to the Bury community.”

Kevin Clements, St Nicholas Hospice Care’s fundraising and marketing director, said: “On behalf of everyone at St Nicholas Hospice Care I would like to pass on our condolences to Mark’s family and friends.

“Mark had been a supporter of the hospice for several years and he was a dedicated member of our Events Committee which organises the Classic and Sports Cars by the Lake event. Mark’s passion for the event, teamed with his desire to help others made him a much valued member of the committee.”

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