"'Keep ahead of the game'. You have got to anticipate what is happening, what the trends are, what the pressures are for change and then design according to change". Working with Rodney, he produced a range of flats, shopping centres, office and car parks, all recognizable by broad, marked concrete finishes, spiral staircases and strong horizontal and vertical lines like Eros House in Catford in 1963.
Sherman House in Bromley, Kent came in 1967 and preceeded the Gatehead Shopping Centre, Trinity Square, with its multi-story carpark.(link)
In 1967 he was elected to the Council of RIBA and said : "Of course I was then the trouble maker, the back-bencher, the one who shouted the odds. I didnt get anywhere. I wasn't considered to be part of the thing. I was the awkward squad".
Also in 1974, Catford Broadway for shopping and housing and Kingston Shopping Centre, Kingston Upon Thames and then in 1976, Wigham House, Barking. He also worked abroad in these years in Saudi Arabia, where he designed the Ministry of Agriculture building in Riyadh and the City Hall in Taif, the summer capital. In Nigeria he designed the National Stadium in Abuja, the new capital of Nigeria and he also advised on the redevelopment of Down Town Little Rock Arkansas, USA. He turned down the invitation to design a high security building in Iran, given its appalling abuse of human rights.Recalling 1981 and the RIBA Presidency he said : "I'd never had any aspirations to be President until Gordon Graham refused to have me as his Vice President when he was in his second year as President and that was when I decided : 'Sod this. I would stand for President. I just went on a publicity campaign". Owen met members in regional meetings and in the end won the Presidency with 56% of the vote. Ian Leslie, Editor of 'Building Magazine' wrote : 'In the present climate of depression and uncertainty for the British profession, : Luder seems to offer the possibility of vigorous real world prosecution of the cause of the architectural profession' and that he was 'straight-talking and approachable".
In 1931, when he was three years old, he rejoined his mother, who had married Ted Luder, an electrician's mate, who, as far as Owen was concerned, was his father and Owen carried his name. When he learned the truth about his real father he said : "It didn't have any impact on my life in those early days, but later on it was a cross I always felt I had to carry" and called Ted, 'The Old Man' to distinguish him from his real father.
Having passed his 11+ examination, Owen, joined the nearest grammar school, Peckham Secondary School for Girls and he remembered the Headmistress who :"was a ferocious Irish lad called Miss O'Reilly" who put him in, at the age of 12, for the 'technical scholarship' for a place in an engineering school. When he went for his interview he recalled he was asked : "What do you want to do ?" and of course I said : "I want to design aeroplanes and spitfires". "Oh" she said. "We'll put you down for an engineering school at Brixton. But you must have a second choice"."I said : "I haven't got a second choice". She said : "Well, we're put you down for building". What didn't know was that, even in 1942, the Government were thinking about post-war reconstruction. There would be a lot of engineers, but 'construction', 'building' would have to be the important thing to do and so in April 1942 I found myself at the Building School, Brixton, on a three year junior course, age 13 and within three months of being at the School, I was still mad on aeroplanes and I still loved the spitfire, but I was going to be an architect".
Five years later, in 2009, at the age of 81, Owen joined the 'Rubble Club', a 'self help support network for recently bereaved architects' whose buildings have been demolished during their lifetime created by Isi Metzstein. At its first meeting it stated that it would : discuss, debate and remember lost architecture in a comprehensive search for 'Britain’s Best Demolished Building'. It was aiming to draw attention to the fact that too many good buildings were being torn down and 'provided a platform for many of architecture’s biggest names to come together in a spirit of solidarity'.