OBE FRIBA FCSD Hon.FRAIC
Healing Environment Consultancy
In his wide-ranging career, John Wells-Thorpe has designed more than £65 million worth of building projects in the UK and overseas. Excelling at art from an early age, it was almost natural that John should become an architect, and he studied at the School of Architecture in Brighton before winning an award to study in Rome – where the young student, faced with modern Italian design in a historic city, felt like a child in the world’s best toy shop.
Work in all five continents over the following years included a ‘relocatable church’, a TV studio in the Arabian Desert, financial headquarters abutting St Paul’s Cathedral and an environmental impact study for a mangrove swamp in Malaysia. Dealing with Margaret Thatcher, Donald Soper, Anita Roddick, Sir Kenneth Clark, Cleo Laine, The Duke of Gloucester and Margaret Atwood along the way, John has encountered many characters, and shares his impressions of them with sharp wit and vivid observations.
Born and educated in Brighton, John Wells-Thorpe has designed buildings in many countries, including award-winning commissions. He was Honorary Librarian and Vice President of the Royal Institute of British Architects before becoming President of the Commonwealth Association of Architects, and was in private practice as an architect before being appointed the first chairman of South Downs Health NHS Trust. He is a member of the NHS Design Review Panel, advises the Commission for Architecture and Built Environment, and has led numerous technology transfer initiatives in Third World countries. Among his non-architectural areas of involvement, he has chaired government independent inquiries into ophthalmic surgery and into adolescent homicide, was a magistrate, and a member of the BBC Advisory Council. He was appointed OBE for services to architecture in 1995.