Ross Langdon was born on July 19, 1980 in Nubeena, Tasmania. He was shot dead by terrorists on September 21 in Westgate Mall. His wife Elif Yavuz, eight months pregnant, also died. Two brilliant and promising lives were prematurely snuffed out.
Langdon studied architecture from 1999 to 2000 at the University of Tasmania and from 2000 at the University of Sydney. He graduated in the fall of 2004, with honours and the University Medal for the best student of his year.
In 2008 he founded Langdon Reis Architects in London with the architect Ana Reis, before founding Regional Associates in London and Melbourne. Langdon received the Young Alumni Award for Achievement of the University of Sydney for the free construction of a hospital for AIDS patients in Uganda. Just before his death, he took over the plans for a museum of African prehistory in Rwanda.
Perhaps his proudest achievement was to win the international Europan prize with his colleagues for a project to redevelop the harbour town of Vardo in Norway on the edge of the Barents Sea.
His Turkish-born, Dutch partner Elif Yavuz was equally distinguished. Yavuz had after finished her PhD at Harvard University and was working as a specialist in malaria and AIDS for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Kenya. She was due to give birth in Nairobi this month.
I came to know Ross in early 2010 when his practice Regional Associates were appointed Consultant architects to design and build a new lodge for Volcanoes Safaris at Kyambura Gorge Lodge near Queen Elizabeth National Park in western Uganda.
Regional Associates, in partnership with the Volcanoes design and construction team, successfully completed the lodge in early 2012, and it was included in the Condé Nast Traveler's Hot List for the Best New Hotels of the year.
Ross also worked on other Volcanoes lodges in Uganda and Rwanda and left a distinctive legacy of his creativity in different ways within each property.
After Kyambura, he took on various regional projects including the redevelopment of the Dar-es-Salaam Yacht Club.
He was a gifted and creative designer, pushing the limits, experimental and unconventional in his designs. He was an avid student of the creations of great architects and designers, of alternative architectural styles and building materials. He reveled in sharing ideas, leading student workshops and entering competitions, including one for building a complete new town in Norway. He gave Kyambura Gorge lodge a contemporary modern twist. Drawing inspiration from 'everyday' Africa, he recycled 'found' or discarded objects. He initiated an exchange scheme for providing new iron sheets for the roofs of village homes belonging to HIV infected patients, a school and a mosque in exchange for their rusty distressed sheets which then went to create an authentic 'African' feel on our new luxury lodge. This 'up-cycling' is a hallmark of the design of the lodge and was a testament to Ross' inspirational vision.
Ross was vibrant and sensitive. He had a warm personality and was able to charm everyone with his mischief and sense of humor. He will be missed not only by his colleagues and friends at Volcanoes, but by his many friends and design collaborators in many countries. Praveen Moman is the founder of Volcanoes Safaris