Frederick Gibberd was born in Coventry in 1908, where his father ran a gentlemen’s outfitters business. Having no wish to follow into the family firm he decided that he wanted to be an architect and after he finished his schooling he was articled to a local practice.  However, he soon realised that he needed a broader education and enrolled himself full-time at the Birmingham School of Architecture, then part of the College of Art.

Upon completion of studies Gibberd moved to London and took up work in the offices of E Berry Webber, a well-known architect who had considerable success in the interwar years in the design of municipal buildings in a Modernist/neo-classical or Art Deco style.  Gibberd worked on the Southampton Civic Centre commission during his time at the practice, until he was laid off in the recession of the early 1930s.  Rather than seek work in another office he decided to go into business on his own account.

At this time he became involved in the Modern Architectural Research Group, one of a number of initiatives which hoped to promote Modernism in Britain, but undoubtedly the most successful as it was able to capitalise on the influx of designers and architects who were leaving Nazi Germany and coming to work in London.  As an enthusiastic Modernist, the principles adopted by MARS would have a profound effect on his early career.

1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010

Frederick Gibberd was born in Coventry in 1908, where his father ran a gentlemen’s outfitters business. Having no wish to follow into the family firm he decided that he wanted to be an architect and after he finished his schooling he was articled to a local practice.  However, he soon realised that he needed a broader education and enrolled himself full-time at the Birmingham School of Architecture, then part of the College of Art.

Upon completion of studies Gibberd moved to London and took up work in the offices of E Berry Webber, a well-known architect who had considerable success in the interwar years in the design of municipal buildings in a Modernist/neo-classical or Art Deco style.  Gibberd worked on the Southampton Civic Centre commission during his time at the practice, until he was laid off in the recession of the early 1930s.  Rather than seek work in another office he decided to go into business on his own account.

At this time he became involved in the Modern Architectural Research Group, one of a number of initiatives which hoped to promote Modernism in Britain, but undoubtedly the most successful as it was able to capitalise on the influx of designers and architects who were leaving Nazi Germany and coming to work in London.  As an enthusiastic Modernist, the principles adopted by MARS would have a profound effect on his early career.


1935 The Practice starts

Frederick Gibberd's parents initially support him by commissioning a house design, and he supplements income from small jobs by contributing drawings to the weekly periodical “The Illustrated Carpenter and Builder” showing working details he had developed. He also travels in Europe and studies classical and modern examples of urban design which influence his ideas on town design and placemaking. In 1931 he comes to the attention of a developer who was looking for an innovative scheme for a substantial low cost private housing scheme comprising over 200 flats on a site in Streatham. The client gives Gibberd a free hand in the design and it becomes the perfect opportunity to produce a pared-down modernist solution. Despite taking time to obtain the necessary consents the scheme is a great success. Other commissions follow in its wake and are widely publicised, earning the young Gibberd the soubriquet of ‘The Flat Architect’ and residential schemes would become the mainstay of the fledgling practice’s workload.


1936 Pullman Court - Streatham

Gibberd’s first major commission for a housing development on the site of a former workhouse/asylum on Brixton Hill, adjacent to the tram depot, and is one of the largest Modernist developments of the time in London. Known as Pullman Court, it is planned as a series of blocks to retain as many of the mature trees on the site and provides 218 flats of varying sizes to suit the demand for homes for young professional people; on-site amenities include a swimming pool, restaurant, social club and roof gardens. Highly influential, the building is later given Grade II* listed status.


1937 Park Court - Sydenham

54 flats built on land adjacent to the Crystal Palace in Sydenham and commissioned shortly after its destruction by fire. The site is one of several originally developed to help finance the re-erection of the Great Exhibition building and was occupied by a substantial villa, called Belvedere. This is acquired by a developer who commissions Gibberd to design Park Court, a series of apartment buildings to replace the original house, while retaining its mature trees. The simple blocks of rendered brickwork and steel windows are efficiently planned and arranged to segregate public and private spaces. The three-story blocks are later restored after war damage to their original condition but are subsequently extended by others with the addition of an incongruous mansard roof.


1938 Ellington Court - Southgate

Completion of the redevelopment of the site of a Victorian villa in the hinterland of the High Street in Southgate, North London and known as Ellington Court. The scheme provides 40 flats in a bold modernist style in contrast to the other neo-Georgian developments of the time. At the insistence of the local authority the blocks are executed in brickwork, and bizarrely insists that all drainage is run externally. The elevations are articulated by horizontal and vertical brick patterning with the vertical circulation elements expressed as tall stair towers. The interior design of the flats is also by Frederick Gibberd and the layout include large sliding doors to give greater flexibility to the internal floor plans.


1939 Macclesfield Nurses' Home

Architectural competitions are an important source of work for Gibberd and will remain so throughout his career. The winning design for a new Nurses Home at the Macclesfield General Hospital in Cheshire becomes the last major commission for the practice before the outbreak of World War Two. The accommodation provides bedrooms for nurses and day rooms for social events. The three storey block in framed construction with plain brickwork, steel windows and concrete detailing, foreshadows the style which would later characterise much of post-war building in Britain.


1940 Air Raid Precautions

Due to a history of chronic kidney infection, Frederick Gibberd is declared unfit for military service and the practice closes down for the duration of the Second World War. During the early part of the war he is employed in the Air Raid Precautions department of the Borough of Hampstead where his knowledge of reinforced concrete construction proves to be an asset. Whilst there he is engaged in surveying properties in the borough and strengthening the basements of many buildings to form shelters. Public surface shelters are also planned at street level in preparation for the anticipated air raids which commence in the summer, culminating in the Blitz on the City of London later in the year.


1941 The Architectural Association at Mount House

During the War the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London is evacuated to Mount House in the suburb of Barnet, and the numbers drastically scaled-down. Frederick Gibberd is appointed as a Studio Master and eventually becomes its Principal. Under his tutelage are Hidalgo (Jacko) Moya and Philip Powell, a talented pair of young students who would both later work for Gibberd before launching their own practice after winning the Churchill Gardens competition in Pimlico.


1942 Town Planning Institute

Most of Frederick Gibberd’s pre-war commissions had been essays in estate planning, as much about the design of individual buildings as the spaces between them. Like many architects and student, he develops a particular interest in town planning which gains momentum with the progress of the war. Whilst at the Architectural Association, Gibberd takes the opportunity to enter himself for the examination for the Town Planning Institute, successfully becoming a member. Many years later, in 1978, he would receive the Gold Medal from the Institute for his achievements in town planning and urban design.


1943 The Army Exhibition - Oxford Street, London

On a four acre site, amidst the devastation of London’s Oxford Street and the rubble of the John Lewis department Store, the Ministry of Information commission a team of talented designers, including Fredrick Gibberd to mount The Army Exhibition explaining how the forces are winning the war and how Londoner’s could assist. The morale-boosting open air exhibition involving over 23,500 items from tanks to shoelaces graphically illustrates the resources that are needed to successfully prosecute the war. The exhibition runs for two months before transferring to Birmingham and Cardiff the following year.


1944 RIBA Reconstruction Committee

Following the Blitz on London the Royal Institute of British Architects establishes a reconstruction committee in 1941 to consider how the city should be rebuilt. This includes many prominent architects among its number, some of them (like Gibberd) are members of the Modern Architectural Research Group, including its founder FRS Yorke with whom he had studied and then collaborated on several publications, notably the seminal book ‘The Modern Flat’ in 1937. In 1943 Gibberd joins the RIBA Committee and becomes involved in the preparation of schemes for the rebuilding of London. He experiments with concepts such as 'landscape wedges' to bring green spaces into urban areas - something which would influence his later planning schemes.


1945 Heathrow: Masterplan for Airport

Before the conclusion of the war the Air Ministry requisitions land at Heath Row for what would become the country’s major airport and eventually the world’s busiest. Frederick Gibberd is appointed as masterplanner for the site and for the design of the central terminal buildings (then envisaged as a maximum of three) and the various ancillary spaces such as car parks, cargo terminals and baggage handling facilities. The work at Heathrow Airport will continue for the rest of his time in practice as the temporary buildings are replaced with permanent structures, rail connections built and innovations such as gaterooms added to keep pace with the development of the aviation industry and the boom in commercial travel and package holidays.

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1946 BISF House

Frederick Gibberd is commissioned for the design of the British Iron and Steel Federation (BISF) House, which aims to deliver thousands of new homes to bomb-damaged areas. Whilst the BISF design is purposely conservative in appearance, its construction is a highly innovative and represents an efficient response to the challenge of providing good quality housing quickly. Unlike many other types it is intended to last up to 60 years and 36,000 units are erected. The firm of John Howard & Co also commission a private sector version with a more daring aesthetic expressing its pre-fabricated nature, with some 1500 units produced. It is testament to the quality of the BISF houses that many last well into the 21st century, significantly exceeding their original design lifespan.


1947 Harlow New Town Masterplan

With the passing of The New Tows Act the previous year, leading planners and designers are invited to take up the challenge of designing the ‘first wave’ of towns to alleviate the post-war housing shortage. The majority of these are sited outside the green belt around London. Frederick Gibberd is appointed for the development of Harlow in Essex with a remit to accommodate 60,000 inhabitants. He takes up residence in the existing Harlow village, cycling around the site of the new town whilst formulating his plans. He will remain in Harlow for the rest of his life. He opens a second office in the town which supervises the implementation of the various phases of development over the next four decades.

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1948 Regent's Park Estate / Somerford Grove, Londo

With his return to practice Frederick Gibberd - as the ‘flat’ architect - is also in great demand for rebuilding schemes on war-damaged sites within London and elsewhere. He is appointed by the Borough of St Pancras to redesign the Regent’s Park Estate after the council loses confidence in its own initial plan of endlessly repetitive slab blocks built on cleared land adjacent to the park. Gibberd completely reorganises the development to create a variety of forms and building types with human-scaled spaces between, and carries out the design of the initial phases as exemplars. He goes on to plan and design several estates in Hackney including the award-winning Somerford Grove development and the Rectory Road estate.


1949 Appleby Frodingham Rolling Mill

Following involvement with the BISF Prefabricated House project, Frederick Gibberd is commissioned by the Appleby Frodingham Company to rebuild their steel rolling mills in Lincolnshire, as well as providing new ancillary accommodation such as the drawing office, and power plant. The mills are required to remain in production throughout and the new envelope (of steel construction) is designed to be erected around it. The project is the start of a long association with the firm and its successors, and the design of a number of industrial plants for a variety of public and private clients including Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), Whitbread Breweries and the Ministry of Works.


1950 The Lawn, Harlow

Frederick Gibberd is credited with designing the first high rise ‘point’ block of flats in the UK, at ‘The Lawn’ in Harlow. Originally intended to be four storeys higher, it is planned as a vertical 'marker' to indicate the entrance to the town from the nearby major approach road, but the Housing Ministry limits it to ten floors. The tower includes one bedroom flats and bedsitting rooms arranged around a central core, with balconies on the radiating arms, and is specifically designed for people without children; family housing is provided in adjoining low rise terraces with access to gardens. The building is later listed as an example of the best of British housing design, and wins numerous awards including the Ministry of Health Housing medal, and a Festival of Britain Award.


1951 Living Architecture Exhibition - Poplar

Frederick Gibberd is approached by Herbert Morrison's commitee to be involved in the Festival of Britain but declines the offer of being the controlling architect for the main site on London’s South Bank. Instead he prepares a paper on the idea of having a ‘live’ architecture exhibit which visitors could walk through and see first-hand how buildings are being planned and made, and which would subsequently remain as a lasting legacy. Gibberd faces considerable bureaucracy and had hoped for a site nearer to the main exhibition, but has to settle for a more remote site in Poplar already being developed by the London County Council. A talented team of leading architects, engineers and landscape designers is assembled to successfully launch the exhibition on time in what is now part of the Lansbury Estate in Tower Hamlets, London.


1952 Market Square - Harlow

In addition to preparing the original masterplan for Harlow the practice updates the plan periodically. The 1952 edition includes the scheme for the Central Market Square which was heavily influenced by the Lansbury Estate Market at Chrisp Street, Poplar designed by Frederick Gibberd the previous year. The market is developed over the next decade and includes a public house (The Painted Lady) one of several themed on butterflies throughout the town, a post office and a bank, and the market office building with its distinctive Festival-style clock commemorating Eric Adams the Development Corporation's first general manager. As with the rest of the town which has works by Henry Moore and Elisabeth Frink, there is a generous provision of public art, notably Ralph Brown's sculpture 'The Meat Porters' which is installed in 1959.


1953 Publishes 'Town Design'

Throughout his career Gibberd wrote extensively about his ideas and designs and produced many successful publications. One of his first books was (surprisingly for a modernist) a history of architecture: “The Architecture of England for Norman Times to the Present Day.” Even when faced with a considerable workload in 1953 he finds time to publish one of his most popular books ‘Town Design’ which runs to six editions and is translated into other languages. He prepares monographs on many of his completed projects including the masterplan for Harlow. Gibberd also collaborates with other authors at this time, notably FRS Yorke with whom he writes 'The Modern Flat' and Sir William Holford, with whom he writes ‘Design in Town and Village’ for the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.


1954 22 - 26 Albert Embankment - London

One of the first office buildings to be built following the lifting of the post-war austerity office building restrictions in 1954 is 22-26 Albert Embankment - designed for the National Dock Labour Board as their Headquarters in London. An economical, uncompromising, yet elegant design it is logically planned on a structural grid to allow total flexibility of the interior fitting out, and reflects the ‘scientific’ approach to office design which will characterise commercial developments for decades to come. It is faced with reconstructed Portland stone with structural mullions in pre-cast concrete framing the ubiquitous Crittal steel windows of the period. The façade terminates in a roof pergola, a favourite modernist motif. Gibberd is made a Commander of the British Empire for his services to Architecture.


1955 Europa Building, Heathrow

By 1955 a significant portion of the permanent Central Terminal Area of Heathrow Airport has been completed, transferring operations from the prefabricated perimeter buildings to the main core area, and the access tunnel from the Bath Road is finally complete. The new Europa Terminal (later renamed Terminal 2), the control tower and other facilities are opened by Queen Elizabeth II. The main airport offices entrance building with its generous viewing decks includes a cinema and lecture hall is named The Queen’s Building in her honour. Originally planned for a maximum of 1.2 million passengers a year, Terminal 2 will be handling some 8 million by the end of its serviceable life sixty years on.


1956 Gibberd Garden - Marsh Lane, Harlow

Frederick Gibberd purchased a property in Marsh Lane, Harlow when he took on the commission for designing the new town. The house itself is of little merit: the chief attraction is the 16 acre site which gives him the opportunity to try out his ideas for creating sequences of spaces within a landscape. The garden remains a work-in-progress for the next 30 years and various elements salvaged from his commissions would find their way into the scheme, including boulders from the Lyn Celyn Reservoir, columns from the demolished parts of Coutts Bank in London, as well some 80 sculptures from leading artists, many personal friends. Several years after his death, and after some neglect, the Gibberd Garden is restored. The garden and house are later placed in the care of a Trust and are now open to the public.


1957 Bath Technical College

With the expansion in education the practice becomes involved with a number of higher and further education commissions including works in Huddersfield and later at Hull. At Bath, following damage in the Baedeker Raid of 1942, considerable rebuilding is undertaken by the city, much of it in what was becoming known as the ‘brutalist’ style in marked contrast to the Georgian city. The practice’s proposals for Bath Technical College, one of the first post war interventions in the city, is a daring essay in massing and form, a remarkable response to its historic setting, executed in local materials, but without resorting to pastiche.


1958 Civic Centre, St Albans

Frederick Gibberd is appointed consultant for the design of the Civic Centre in St Albans, one of a number of municipal schemes he is to carry out in key locations. The most successful building of the Council group, the Civic Hall (later renamed the Alban Arena) is designed by Gibberd in a restrained modern movement style: a simple cubic auditorium building executed in the local red brickwork. The corners are glazed to reveal the structural form, with internal corner columns visible within - around which rise the staircases in an elegantly simple manner. Unfortunately, later additions fail to respect the symmetry of the original conception.


1959 Shell Research Centre, Sittingbourne

Frederick Gibberd becomes involved in the design of several research facilities including laboratories for Shell at Thornton Heath where he designs the main buildings. At Sittingbourne in Kent he plans the future development of the Shell Agro-Chemicals Research Centre at Woodstock Farm and continues to design facilities for the company, which includes numerous technical buildings as well as sports and welfare accommodation, until its closure in 1996.


1960 Ulster Hospital, Dundonald

Construction work begins on the new Ulster Hospital. The practice is appointed to plan the new site at Dundonald, which is needed to replace the city centre teaching hospital that was badly damaged in the Belfast Blitz of 1941. Whilst the hospital is in temporary premises, an exhaustive series of briefing meetings takes place with the clinical teams in order to ensure that all requirements are incorporated in the scheme. Planned for a maximum of 500 beds, the hospital is described at the time as a model of functional excellence and distinctive beauty, planned not only for the present but to meet future needs.


1961 Oceanic Terminal (Terminal 3) Heathrow

The Oceanic Terminal becomes the second major terminal structure to be erected at Heathrow and is planned to handle arrivals and departures to long haul destinations integrated within the same building. At this time the airport had a direct helicopter service to Central London and a helipad is included on the roof. The building also incorporates the UK’s first moving walkways. Renamed Terminal 3, it goes on to handle more than 15 million passengers annually, exceeding all original forecasts.


1962 Hull Technical College

Major development for Hull Technical College at the northern end of Queen’s Gardens in Hull, a public open space formed by infilling the Queen’s Dock Basin in the 1930s. The eight-storey concrete-framed building with its distinctive skyline addresses the open space and terminates the vista from the gardens; behind this block various studios with north light roofs are subsequently erected. The building now accommodates the principle activities of what has become the largest Further Education College in the country.


1963 Monastery Douai Abbey, Woolhampton

Following its expulsion from France in 1903, the Benedictine Community of Douai relocated to Upper Woolhampton in Berkshire, taking a lease on the former St Mary’s College. After purchasing the site, the community eventually looks at redeveloping the site and appoints Frederick Gibberd to prepare the masterplan for Douai Abbey which is adopted on the Diamond Jubilee of its English foundation. He designs functional monastic blocks centered around the, then partially built, abbey church, which was to be completed some thirty years later by ecclesiastical architect Michael Blee.


1964 Didcot Power Station

The practice develops a long-standing association with Taylor Woodrow for the design of a number of coastal power generating stations. In the early 1960s it is commissioned for the architectural and landscape design of Didcot Power Station, a coal and oil-fired plant at Sutton Courtenay (then in Berkshire). The scheme comprises six distinctively shaped hyperboloid cooling towers disposed about the main turbine halls and a 200m chimney, one of the tallest structures in the UK. Didcot Power station ‘A’ as it becomes known, goes on to win a Civic Trust Award in 1968. It is decommissioned 50 year later.


1965 Llyn Celyn Reservoir, Tryweryn

The practice is involved in the architectural and landscape design for a number of reservoirs including Kielder Water in Northumberland - the largest man-made lake in the largest man-made forest in Europe. One of the earliest - and most controversial - is Llyn Celyn Reservoir which is completed in 1965. This is ordered without local consultation by Act of Parliament and is built to supply the City of Liverpool and the Wirral Peninsula. The reservoir which involves the loss of the village of Capel Celyn, is the biggest in Wales and is created in the valley of the River Tryweryn by the construction of a substantial rock gravity dam incorporating four hydroelectric turbines. At this time the practice structure is changed to become a partnership, and adopts the name Frederick Gibberd and Partners.


1966 Heathrow Terminal 1

London Airport is officially renamed London Heathrow, and work begins on the largest passenger facility in Europe, to be opened by Queen Elizabeth II three years later, and to be known as Terminal 1. This was originally envisaged as the last stage of the 1944 masterplan, but at a time when air travel is rapidly evolving it becomes clear that further expansion will become necessary even before the project is complete. It is testament to the flexible nature of the design that allowed Terminal 1’s ongoing adaptation to keep pace with the ever-growing numbers of passengers on short-haul, international, and domestic flights.


1967 Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool

A major milestone is the completion of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool, a commission which had been won in a design competition in 1960 and raises the profile of the practice to an international level. Built over the crypt of the abandoned design by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the circular form responds directly to the recommendations of the Second Vatican Council. The iconic design features contributions by many of the country’s leading artists of the time, including the dramatic stained glass by John Piper and Patrick Reyntiens. 7 years later the cathedral is Listed, and is now Grade II*. Gibberd is knighted for his services to architecture.

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1968 Fulwell Cross - Ilford

Frederick Gibberd was appointed as consultant architect to Ilford council for a high-profile scheme on a prominent site overlooking the Fulwell Cross roundabout. The design evolves over a decade from an original proposal for an Olympic-sized swimming pool, with the scope increased to include a library which eventually becomes the focus of the scheme. This is a striking circular design surmounted by a radial fluted concrete shell roof rising from a clerestory of arched windows illuminating the central space. The building is later listed Grade II.


1969 Memorial University of Newfoundland

Gibberd prepares the masterplan for the Memorial University of Newfoundland, the largest University in Atlantic Canada. As part of its representation in the UK, the practice also plans a new campus in Harlow, linking the oldest town in the New World with the newest town in the Old World. The first phase is the refurbishment of a Victorian Maltings to accommodate visiting students carrying out internships in Harlow factories and subsequent phases accommodates arts, engineering and education faculties. At this time Sir Frederick is made a Royal Academician.


1970 London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park

From over 100 entrants, the practice wins the international design completion the London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park. The design is developed over the next four years, with another three years of construction to completion. The planning reflects the different functions of the domed prayer halls, the library and reading room wing, administrative offices and the landmark minaret. The building is structurally innovative, with slender load-bearing pre-cast concrete glazed panels supporting the floors and roof ; the main prayer hall roof is carried on four mushroom-headed columns supporting a rotated portal frame which forms the dome. Twenty years later, the practice designs an extension to complete the main forecourt and provide educational and welfare facilities.

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1971 Lowfellside Housing - Kendal

Housing remains an important part of the workload of the practice as exemplified by the award-winning regeneration of Lowfellside, a steeply-sloping site in Kendal. Accommodation provides a total of 42 dwellings, half in three bedroom houses and the remainder in two bedroom maisonettes all to Parker Morris standards. A retained mid-19th century Mission church forms the focus of the scheme and original Cumbrian stone retaining walls are conserved and repaired wherever possible. The scheme responds to the scale and grain of the original historic houses but is clearly expressed as a modern intervention. The practice goes on to complete a further scheme of waterside dwellings off Highgate in Kendal.


1972 Royal Spa Centre - Leamington Spa

Growing up in Coventry Frederick Gibberd was a frequent visitor to Royal Leamington Spa, and is delighted to be commissioned by the town to design the Royal Spa Centre on the site of a demolished mansion overlooking Jephson Gardens. The bold modernist solution succeeds by responding to the scale of its surroundings, and the high quality concrete sits well with the stuccoed architecture of the area. The completed centre comprises an 800 seat theatre, a 200 seat cinema, two licensed bars, a coffee bar, and ancillary spaces to support a wide range of cultural and community events.


1973 Inter-continental Hotel - London

Construction begins on one of London’s premier hotels at Hyde Park Corner for the Inter-continental chain. The site is an important pivotal point at the junction of Piccadilly and Park Lane and its location is highly sensitive, being close to Wellington’s Apsley House and close to the gardens of Buckingham Palace. It has a restrained architectural treatment in deference to its surroundings and provides 550 bedrooms, a grand Ballroom, function areas, a swimming pool and underground parking for 130 cars. The practice is also responsible for the interior design of the public areas of the hotel.


1974 The Royal Mint - Llantrisant

Queen Elizabeth II opens The Royal Mint, following its relocation from the Tower of London to a rural site at Llantrisant, South Wales. The initial phase of the Mint was designed ahead of Decimalisation and comprises the Coinage and Annealing blocks, two similar sized buildings that form the kernel of the complex. The largely windowless buildings are clad in robust precast concrete panels, articulated by an over-scaled battered plinth, which continues around the later phases comprising welfare and administrative blocks lending unity to the completed development.


1975 Dinorwig hydro-electric power station

The practice is appointed by the Central Electricity Generating Board to design the landscape and architectural works for the provision of a short term operating reserve hydro-electric power station in the defunct slate quarry at Dinorwig, located within Snowdonia National Park. It is the largest civil engineering contract in the UK (later surpassed by the Channel Tunnel) and the project included the removal of 12 million tons of rock from within the mountain Elidir Fawr in order to preserve the natural environment. The project takes a decade to complete and includes the construction of a visitors centre to what becomes known as ‘Electric Mountain.’

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1976 The Harpur Centre - Bedford

The Harpur Centre opens, one of the largest development schemes in Bedford. Centered on the former Bedford Modern School (which had vacated the site two years earlier) it incorporates parts of the Grade II* listed street frontage completed in 1834 to designs by Edward Blore. The mixed-use development is integrated within the grain of the existing street pattern and creates a new 200,000 sq ft retail centre together with commercial office units and car parking. The Harpur Centre wins the International Council of Shopping Centres European Award.


1977 Arundel Great Court - London

The practice is appointed for the Arundel Great Court development, the replanning of a major street block (once the site of the palace of the Bishop of Bath) between the River Thames and the Strand to provide high quality flexible office accommodation around a landscaped courtyard. A new hotel (replacing various hotel operations on the site) completes the courtyard to the south with river views over Temple Station. The development is planned as five separate buildings, with vertical circulation towers between, giving unobstructed and flexible floor plates and reflects the scale of the surviving palace redevelopments such as Somerset House and the Savoy to the west.


1978 Coutts Bank - The Strand, London

Queen Elizabeth II, one of the bank's most famous clients, opens the new development at 440 Strand for Coutts and Co. This is the first atrium building to be constructed in the UK and involves extensive negotiation to satisfy the building codes of the Greater London Council. The scheme incorporates, and conserves, the surviving facades of a Regency shopping terrace by John Nash, which were built as the 'West Strand Improvement Block' connecting with Trafalgar Square . Later intrusions in the centre of two of the facades are removed and war damage to other parts of the building made good. Controversially, the centre of the Strand elevation is not rebuilt, but instead a full height glass screen inserted, giving dramatic views into the new glazed garden courtyard from the street. Valuable 18th century Chinese wallpaper is rescued from the demolished boardroom and rehung in the new building. Sir Frederick Gibberd retires as a full time partner and remains a consultant of the practice.

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1979 Western Brewery at Magor, Wales

The practice had a long association with Whitbread, planning and designing their Northern Brewery at Preston, and subsequently their Western Brewery at Magor in Wales. The initial phase of the Magor site includes the keg beer operation and the main site infrastructure with subsequent phases for canned products. The design exploits the abstract sculptural forms of the hoppers, silos and tanks, with the various elements articulated in the scheme, to break up the silhouette. Generous landscape mounding and the retention of mature landscape features are used to integrate the structures with the rural setting and to conceal the movement of industrial vehicles. The plant is later taken over by AB InBev UK Ltd. Magor Brewey receives an RIBA commendation in 1985.


1980 Bromley Civic Centre

Following the closure of a teacher training college near to the existing town hall, the practice is appointed by the London Borough of Bromley to prepare proposals for centralising all its activities within a new Civic Centre on the campus. The site is located in the heart of the town of Bromley and includes the former Palace of the Bishops of Rochester, much altered by the addition of wings in the 1930s, with various post-war buildings erected in the grounds. Although a few unsympathetic additions are removed, the majority of the buildings are retained and economically adapted to office use. The mid 18th century parts of the palace are sensitively restored as a new civic suite and weddings venue with the existing mature landscape setting (compete with moat) retained and enhanced.


1981 Raffles Hotel in Singapore

The practice is appointed by the Development Bank of Singapore to carry out feasibility design studies for the restoration of the world-famous Raffles Hotel in Singapore. Various options are explored including high and low-rise schemes extending onto vacant sites behind the original hotel. A design is developed for an 800 tourist class bedroom tower over a multi-level retail podium on land to the rear of the hotel with the reversal of unsympathetic interventions and additions, the refurbishment of the existing Bras Basah building for speciality retail, a new Ballroom, and the restoration of the original Palm Court wing. The hotel decides to concentrate on its upmarket operation and scales down the extent of modern development.


1982 Orwell Bridge - Ipswich

The practice has provided consultancy services on the architectural aspects of a number of infrastructure works. One of the most notable is the award-winning Orwell Bridge in Ipswich, which carries the A14 across the River Orwell. The project was referred to the Royal Fine Art Commission who approved the Gibberd design. The main span of 190m (at the time of its construction) is the longest pre-stressed concrete span in use. The overall length of the bridge is some 1200 metres and joins Wherstead to the site of the former Ipswich airport, carrying utility services including a 700mm water main from the Alton Water reservoir.


1983 Riverdale - Lewisham, London

Riverdale is an innovative office development planned around a retained mill close to the River Ravensbourne in Lewisham. With the shift in the commercial office market from the centre of London to the periphery, this is one of a number of schemes carried out for Capital and Counties and occupied by Citibank. The development is planned in two phases, but only the first is ever implemented. The turreted design articulates the stepped block which forms a backdrop to the last of the Ravensbourne Mills dating from 1828. The mill is sensitively restored with a new waterwheel and mill race forming the centrepiece to the landscaped courtyard.


1984 Sir Frederick Gibberd

Sir Frederick Gibberd dies at his home in Harlow a few days after his 76th birthday. With over one thousand commissions in a career spanning some 50 years, “FG” as he was known to his colleagues and staff, collected many accolades, including Kt, CBE, and membership of the Royal Academy. He was a lifelong collector of art and donated many acquisitions including works by John Piper, Graham Sutherland and Henry Moore to Harlow Council. Interviewed by Roy Plomley a few months before his death for the BBC’s Desert Island Discs, he says of himself "had I been less interested in people and more interested in building a monument, I'd probably have been a better architect".


1985 The Quadrangle - London

One of a number of central London projects undertaken by the practice on Europe’s busiest shopping street for the Crown Estate, the Quadrangle provides substantial office space aimed at the flourishing film production market. It is located on the corner of Oxford Street and Wardour Street and incorporates a façade by Victorian architect, Banister Fletcher, with new flank elevations to the side and rear. As well as offices, the building provides new shops and residential units. Adjacent is a former Hat Factory fronting onto Hollen Street, refurbished as shops, offices and light industrial units, the existing terracotta façade - with its distinctive beaver finials - being conservatively repaired.


1986 Chatham Maritime - Kent

The practice is commissioned to prepare a masterplan for Chatham Maritime, the redevelopment of the former Royal Naval Dockyards at Chatham in Kent. The historic dockyard contains one of the largest concentrations of listed buildings in the UK and the plan envisages these retained as a ‘living museum’ providing a unique heritage destination, and an exceptional educational and recreational resource. The remainder of the vacated site is given over to development for commercial uses, residential, research & development, and education, with sailing activities in the restored dock basins. The site is opened up further by the provision of new infrastructure, including a new tunnel crossing beneath the River Medway.

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1987 The Summit Centre - East London

Completion of a unique community sports and theatre venue, known as The Summit Centre on the site of the old Gardiner’s Department Store in the East End of London. The building is on a constricted part of the site, with major infrastructure services beneath, including the Nightingale sewer and Underground subways. The plan rationalises the various disparate activities into a deceptively simple rectangular box with free-standing towers containing all the service elements and circulation. Independent structural frames allows the sports hall to be sited over the auditorium with no disturbance in use to either and the building is completed within a very strict budget. The scheme receives a Civic Trust commendation.


1988 Arnhem House - Leicester

Whilst the London commercial office slows down the practice becomes active in the provinces and designs various commercial schemes including Arnhem House in Leicester, which becomes the East Midlands Headquarters of Royal Insurance UK. The design responds to a difficult site which is left over after the laying out of a new road junction, and the heights are modulated so as to avoid overshadowing the Gilbert Scott church of St John the Divine on an adjoining site. On-site parking is contained within an undercroft with the main accommodation beginning on the first floor. The scheme receives the H J Dyos Award for architectural design.


1989 12-18 Moorgate - City of London

The practice is appointed by the recently demutualised Abbey National Building Society for the redevelopment of the old National House headquarters at 12-18 Moorgate in the City of London. The building is in a sensitive location close to the Bank of England and planning consent is secured for the re-building to maximise the site’s potential. The scheme provides high-quality office accommodation with column-free floor plates and a modern stone and bronze façade articulated to reflect the prevailing neo-classical mercantile style of the street.


1990 One Canada Square - Canary Wharf

Having worked in London Docklands on a number of office schemes at Harbour Exchange and Canada Water, the practice is invited to join a team for the detailed design and construction of the tallest building in Europe, from a concept design by Cesar Pelli, and situated at No1 Canada Square. The original proposal for stone cladding is changed to that of stainless steel, and the practice becomes responsible for the design of the envelope. Associated works include the new station roof over the Dockland Light Railway station, the Cabot Hall venue and new retail areas, as well as the underground car park.

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1991 85 Jermyn Street - London

The practice had worked with the Co-operative Insurance Society on a number of schemes and is commissioned for the redevelopment of a building at 85 Jermyn Street. The building was constructed in the 19th century as the Waterloo Hotel and later converted to offices. The internal plan was highly inefficient, and the chief interest was in the design of the Jermyn Street frontage. A proposal for retention of this façade and redevelopment behind is approved by Westminster City Council. As one of London’s premier shopping streets the scheme sought to maximise the usable retail area and to provide high quality office suites on the upper floors with improved servicing access from the rear mews.


1992 CrownGate Shopping Centre - Worcester

After a decade in the planning, the new CrownGate Shopping Centre for the Crown Estate is completed in Worcester. The centre of the city had suffered much urban blight from a major replanning scheme to accommodate a 1960s road scheme which never materialised, with a high-rise multi-storey car park erected in readiness. dominating the skyline. The proposals follow the tradition of ‘mending the city’ with new buildings sensitively integrated into the existing fabric and the car park radically redesigned to reduce its profile. Much of the City centre becomes pedestrianised and the retail and restaurant capacity increased by 300,000 sq ft, with parking for 750 cars. A new central bus station is sited within the area of the proposed urban motorway, transforming the centre of the city and encouraging shoppers back to the High Street. A mile-long heritage trail is devised with the city's archaeologists providing insights into the history of the area and artefacts discovered during construction.


1993 Sanctuary Buildings - Westminster

Sanctuary Buildings, a redevelopment of a group of early 20th century office buildings in Westminster is completed and opened by the Princess Royal as the headquarters of the Department for Education and Skills. The existing buildings, which included two listed structures, represented an unusually high plot ratio in which much of the space was poorly lit and serviced. The listed buildings are retained, and the principal elevations of the unlisted buildings are also incorporated, the tallest retained facades in the country at the time. A dramatic stepped atrium brings daylighting to the heart of the scheme and by careful utilisation of the site the amount of floor space is significantly increased.


1994 BUPA House - London

The practice is commissioned for the design of the new London headquarters of BUPA in Bloomsbury, remodelling a 1920s building to maximise the space and consolidate the various departments. A new central core is inserted within an ineffective lightwell to create efficient and well-lit perimeter offices. The top floors are extended and remodelled to give a restaurant with views over the city. As part of its investment portfolio BUPA owns and commissions artworks which are incorporated into the design. This is the start of a long association with the firm, involving works at private hospitals around the country and in Europe.


1995 St. Mary's Hospital - Isle of Wight

With extensive experience on various cladding projects such as Canary Wharf tower, the practice is appointed for the remedial works at St Mary’s Hospital, Newport on the Isle of Wight. The original envelope was designed in stainless steel but had failed due to salt corrosion in the maritime environment. The works involves the replacement of the cladding over the entire building whilst maintaining the hospital in operation. The scope includes various temporary, decanting and enabling works as well as additional facilities including a new day procedures unit comprising two theatres, recovery ward and critical care unit.


1996 Brakes - Ashford, Kent

Completion of the new headquarters of the food production company, Brakes, one of the first developments on the Eureka Science Park at Ashford in Kent. The commission includes architectural, landscape design, space planning and interior design for the flagship development on the upper terrace of the park. The 75,000 sq ft building is planned along a central spine and includes test kitchens, offices to accommodate 250 staff, as well as welfare facilities and car parking.


1997 Haycock Hotel - Cambridgeshire

Practice prepares masterplan for the future development of the Grade II* Haycock Hotel, an early Stuart coaching inn at Wansford-in-England on the Great North Road. The present buildings date from 1632, although the site is undoubtedly earlier, and has a rich and varied history. As well as refurbishing the buildings, the practice designs additional bedrooms in the local vernacular style and refurbishes the buildings to safeguard their special architectural and historic interest, incorporating a business centre and fitness studio.


1998 BUPA’s UK Call Centre

Having worked extensively with BUPA on its portfolio of hospitals, Frederick Gibberd Partnership is appointed to design and plan BUPA’s UK Call Centre operation, which is located in premises at Staines in Middlesex and at Salford Quays, Manchester. Call centre work is considered highly stressful and organisations can experience a high turnover in staff. To counteract this, the centres are designed using Feng Shui principles, with an emphasis on natural materials and forms, generous breakout provision and relaxation areas. The completed facilities win the Gold Award for European Call Centre of the Year.


1999 The Corner - London

The practice is commissioned for a redevelopment for Shimizu of the former Qantas building in Westminster to be known as ‘The Corner’. The building is on a prominent site on the corner of Old Bond Street and Piccadilly and includes a fin-de-siècle façade which it is proposed to retain. The local authority insists on the retention of the party walls and chimney breasts within the development. Some years later the building finds fame as the subject of an appeal to the House of Lords, in what will become known as ‘the Shimizu Case’ which highlighted inconsistencies in the interpretation of the law on listed buildings and conservation areas.


2000 Charing Cross Hospital - London

With considerable experience in the planning and design of Mental Health Units, the practice is appointed for the redevelopment of a site at Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith. The site presents several challenges and already includes an underground car park designed for another scheme but which was subsequently abandoned, and backs on to a residential road. The innovative and influential design includes ward areas with individual rooms, therapy spaces, secure roof terraces and a central hub where patients can socialise. A separate assessment unit is also designed in nearby Claybrook Road.


2001 Surrey Institute of Art and Design LRC.

The practice provides design services for a number of projects at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design, at its campuses in Farnham and Epsom as part of its programme of expansion and improvement works. The first project for a Learning Resource Centre at Farnham is procured on a design and build basis and is part of a series of successful collaborations with contractors providing maximum guaranteed price arrangements to produce buildable and innovative solutions to various colleges with the backing of the Learning Skills Council.


2002 Basingstoke Diagnostic and Treatment Centre

Healthcare design continues to provide an important skill set for the partnership. This commission for a Diagnostic and Treatment Centre in Basingstoke includes General Surgery, Urology, Orthopaedics, ENT and Gynaecology, with day procedures facilities and provision for limited overnight accommodation. The Centre exceeds all expectations for serving the local community and becomes a catalyst for modernising the way in which elective care is provided at the hospital.


2003 Mons Barracks - Aldershot

The practice works with Kier Build for the complete redevelopment of the disused Mons Barracks site in Aldershot. The new development with a contract value of £40 million involves the design of more than 30 buildings, associated infrastructure and landscape works. The new Mons creates modern barrack accommodation to house nearly 700 officers and men, and includes operational and educational buildings. Most of the site was cleared but some of the original mess buildings dating from the 1920s are retained for refurbishment.


2004 55 Whitehall - London

The practice completes a review of all the Central London Accommodation occupied by MAFF (then renamed Defra) and is appointed to refurbish the Grade II* listed building at 55 Whitehall with a view to accommodating several departments currently occupying commercial floor space off the government estate. The project involves the creation of 'open-plan' offices spaces, within the limitations of the original plan, and the removal of modern partitioning and ceilings to reveal the original proportions of rooms maximising the occupancy of the space. The building achieves the highest practicable level of 'Very Good.' Major interventions include the provision of DDA access to the building, and upgrading of the fire strategy and involves the successful conclusion of negotiations with English Heritage and the Home Office.


2005 Lots Road Power Station - Chelsea, London

The practice is appointed by London Transport Property to prepare proposals for the listed Lots Road Power Station. The building and adjacent land at Chelsea Creek occupy a prominent site a site adjacent to the Thames, and the practice is instructed to carry out a feasibility study with a view to disposing of the building and site to the residential sector when when the station is eventually decommissioned. The scheme envisages the conversion of the retained power station to flats around a central atrium, and high-rise towers to optimize the views over the River Thames.


2006 Block 6 at St Thomas’ Hospital - London

Refurbishment of two wards in the Victorian Block 6 at St Thomas’ Hospital into a new Paediatric Ophthalmology Department. The accommodation is based around the need of children and their families and includes electro-diagnostic room, a visual fields room, a multisensory experience starlight room, orthoptic bays and integrated play areas. The interior finishes are designed in conjunction with the clinicians to create a bright, colourful and welcoming environment, including feature lighting, bespoke signage and backlit photographic art work with a theme of animals and their eyes.


2007 Barnet College - North London

Rebuilding of the Wood Street campus of Barnet College, for which the practice carried out detailed design development including interior completion as part of a Design and Build procurement with contractors Norwest Holst. Accommodating 15,000 students in a state of the art facility, the scheme includes arts and media training spaces, classrooms and a multi-purpose lecture theatre. The project encompasses a number of sustainable measures, such as brise-soleil, windcatchers, and ground source heat pumps, as well as extensive use of engineered components in the main structure to make efficient use of small timber sections.

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2008 Lion House - Alnwick, Northumberland

With a number of exemplar schemes for Defra, the practice acquires proficiency in sustainable design and is appointed to design 'Project Zebra' - Lion House at Alnwick, planned to be first carbon-neutral building of its kind in the UK. The building provides offices for staff, training rooms, record storage and meeting rooms. Energy usage is minimised by the use of natural and passive measures Among its energy-saving features are a wind turbine, photovoltaic solar thermal, electric and biomass heating and rainwater harvesting. The building obtains the highest possible BREEAM “Outstanding” rating and numerous awards.

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2009 RAF Northolt - London

Frederick Gibberd Partnership works with Vinci Construction to deliver buildings at RAF Northolt for Project MoDEL (Ministry of Defence Estates London). The £150 million investment at RAF Northolt creates the MoD's first integrated core site in London and the practice is responsible for the design of the residential, training and recreational buildings. Gibberd also acts as the Landscape Architect and Master Planners for the project. This consolidation leads to the release by the Ministry of over 250 acres of surplus land for redevelopment as part of the funding strategy.

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2010 William Cotton Place - East London

Gibberd designs William Cotton Place, a mixed use building located at Mile End, in east London on a brownfield site. The scheme provides approximately 3875m² of primary care trust accommodation at street level with twin residential towers above comprising 48 affordable residential units in a mix of sizes. The project is designed to achieve Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3 and to comply with National Housing Federation Guidance. The completed scheme secures national acclaim when it is featured as one of Inside Housing's Top 50 Affordable Developments.

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2011 Bexley College - Kent

With considerable growth in the further and higher education sectors, the practice is involved in a number of schemes and begins work on the new Bexley College in Erith Town Centre. When complete, it brings together some 1000 of the College's students in purpose-designed accommodation which places emphasis on the integration of 'town and gown' - providing facilities available to the local community. The former campus is released for disposal to the residential sector.

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2012 Backstage Centre - Purfleet, Essex

The practice designs the Backstage Centre, for the National Skills Academy for Creative and Cultural Skills at the Royal Opera House Production Park in Purfleet, Thurrock. The centre is a unique 3,100sqm state-of-the-art, purpose-built training facility for the complete range of technical and backstage skills associated with the theatre and live music industries. The interior combines both exposed structure and services, and demonstrates high-quality interior design and coordination skills. It is highly commended when nominated for a BCI Building of the Year award. Further work a the ROH site includes the detailed design development for the new Costume Store.

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2013 Wellesley Hotel - Knightsbridge, London

With its long track record in hotel design, the practice is invited to plan London’s first ‘6-star’ rated boutique hotel above the old London Underground station at Hyde Park Corner in Knightsbridge. The building, designed as Sartori’s Park View Hotel shortly before the Great War still retained is distinctive oxblood tiling at ticket hall level, but had long since been converted to offices and a pizza restaurant. The building is extensively reconstructed behind its elaborate French style façade to provide 36 rooms and suites and boasts the largest capacity suite in London on its top floor. The building opens as the Wellesley Hotel, named after the Duke of Wellington, whose Apsley House also known as Number One, London is opposite.

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2014 St Bartholomew’s Hospital - City of London

Bartholomew’s Hospital site, involving various listed buildings up to, and including Grade I. The proposals include conversion of buildings to outpatient consulting areas, new pathology laboratories and a mortuary as well as waiting areas and administrative accommodation. The scheme is successfully negotiated with the City of London and Historic England and the opportunity taken to reverse various unsympathetic alterations made when the properties were exempt from listed building control.

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2015 Derwent Centre, Harlow

Work begins on site of the first phases of the Derwent Centre in Harlow. The practice provides design services under a framework agreement to remodel and refurbish an acute mental health unit based on the Princess Alexandra Hospital site near the town centre. The building dates from the 60's and in need of extensive repairs to the envelope. The practice uses it is expertise in the mental health sector to develop a phased scheme with the users and stakeholders to improve the model of care and meet clinical best-practice guidelines. The project is implemented in phases to maintain vital services to the community.

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2016 Wild Ash Croft - Kent

Residential development for a range of tenure models continues to be a significant part of the workload of the practice, and the extensive experience in the design of public and private housing stands the practice in good stead to meet the challenges of producing high quality designs for affordable homes. The practice secures a number of commissions from local authorities and housing associations, including Wild Ash Croft which is short listed for the National Housing Awards - Best Scheme in Planning and The Orangery in Bexhill (an Extra Care Scheme) in the Most Innovative/Specialist Solution.

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2017 Cavendish Square, London