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John Simpson


John Simpson, C.V.O., studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London.  He is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and is the Principal Director of John Simpson Architects Limited (formerly John Simpson & Partners), which he founded in 1980.

The practice undertakes a diverse range of work which includes masterplanning large urban developments down to furniture and interiors.  John Simpson made his name with Ashfold House, West Sussex (1991), where he demonstrated how the classical language of architecture could be used in buildings that also satisfied contemporary needs.  He was instrumental in the New Classicism movement of the 1980s.


John Simpson’s completed architectural projects include: the West Range of Gonville Court at Gonville & Caius College, University of Cambridge; The Brownsword Market Hall, the first public building at The Prince of Wales’s development Poundbury; and the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace which included new exhibition space, educational and conservation facilities, as well as the refurbishment of the existing palace kitchens.  In 2003 the practice won a number of prestigious awards, RIBA Award for Architecture, The Building of the Year Award from the Royal Fine Art Trust, the Award for the Best Contemporary Classical building from the Georgian Group, the Copper in Architecture Award, and the Natural Stone Award from the Worshipful Company of Stone Masons.

Current architectural projects that Simpson is working on include: the new building in Gisborne Court at Peterhouse, University of Cambridge; a new apartment block on the upper east side off 5th Avenue in Manhattan, the first new classical building designed for New York since the 1950s; and, currently under construction, 75 new apartments in four buildings on Vincent Square, Westminster, London.

John Simpson is also known for his masterplanning work, in 2000 he completed a mixed-use development in the heart of Chelsea in London. His urban designs for new mixed-use communities are currently under construction at Fairford Leys, Aylesbury, and at Dickens Heath near Birmingham, and have been used as exemplars of good practice in government guidance documents on urban design.  John Simpson & Partners’ Masterplan for Newcastle Great Park was also the first to achieve planning permission under the new PPG3 guidance.  John Simpson is consultant to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council on Urban Design.

John Simpson Architects Limited are currently the Masterplanners working with Swindon Borough Council, to deliver 4,500 new homes and additional employment, commercial and community uses on a site to the south of Swindon.  The scheme has been treated as an exemplar in terms of pre-application public consultation.  The scheme has also been selected as part of the ODPM’s Design Coding Pilot Programme for assessing the use of design codes in development.

The practice has been awarded the Honor Award for Urban Design from the American Institute of Architects, and in 2004 the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Environment Award for the best new development in the Borough.


1: Hall of Casts, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, USA.

2: University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, USA

3: The Queen’s Gallery double-height entrance hall, glazed ceiling with a lattice of glazing bars.

4: The Queen’s Gallery, The Portland stone of the entrance portico contrasts with the Bath stone of the entrance hall beyond.

5: Peterhouse College, University of Cambridge

6: Poundbury, Dorset. Brownsword Market Hall.

7: Poundbury, Dorset. Houses.

8: Aerial drawing by Carl Laubin of the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre in Stanford on Soar near Loughborough, Nottinghamshire.

9: Porte Cochere, University Arms Hotel, Cambridge.

10: Dickens Heath, Solihull.

Further information

John Simpson Architects Limited
Architects, Designers, Urban Planners
29 Great James Street
London WC1N 3ES
Tel: +44 (0)20 74051285
Fax: +44 (0)20 78311781