The practice was set up in 1980 as John Simpson & Partners Ltd. Since 2012, the practice has traded as John Simpson Architects. It has worked on a wide variety of projects which include Public, Educational, Commercial and Residential buildings. It has also built up an expertise in dealing with large scale masterplans both within sensitive urban locations and on green field sites.

Its work revolves around the notion that Architecture is a public art where each and every building façade forms the character and shape of the public realm - the streets, the squares and the major civic spaces that we all use. As such it must use a language of building which is recognisable and by necessity, draws on our collective cultural experience - the inherited language of Architecture that each and everyone of us can relate to and understand.

Based in the centre of London the practice carries out projects across the world, in Britain, Europe and the USA. Its work ranges from the design of a major new university facility or an urban extension of a town to the design of an individual house or interior of a shop.

In general, the emphasis within the work of the practice is to create an architecture which is timeless: one that uses updated traditional forms to respond to contemporary requirements and modern technology. In this respect, the practice can claim a first for many of its buildings; for instance, the Galleries at Buckingham Palace opened in 2002 by HM Queen Elizabeth II, are the first of their type to incorporate the latest modern conservation technology for works of art within a design that is thoroughly traditional and classical.

At an urban design level, John Simpson Architects have also advocated a fresh new approach where technology is used to serve rather than dominate the design. Since 1990, with the masterplan for Fairford Leys at Aylesbury and later at Dicken's Heath in Solihull near Birmingham, the practice has shown how a sustainable urban alternative to the conventional suburban housing estate can work. Long before this became government policy in England, the practice pioneered the idea of mixed use settlements planned around streets and squares where day to day life is not reliant on the motor car. The practice now advises local authorities and its work features in government guidance on best practice in urban design.

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The projects illustrated in this website are a selection from a range of work and are representative of the skill, expertise and knowledge that the practice has at its disposal.

The practice offers the following services:


Full Architectural Services

Feasibility studies

Planning Applications

Listed Building consents and works to historic buildings

Lottery/Grant Bid Advice

Building Regulation applications

Homes for individual clients

Conservation & Restoration

Ecological Architecture

Design for Disabled People

Listed Building Advice

Art & Architecture

Church Quinquennial Inspections

Client Design Advisor

Competition Assessor

Construction Techniques

Contract Administration

Film and set design

Urban Design

Full Design Service

Community Planning & Participation

Master Planning

Sustainable and Ecological Design

Urban Planning & Design

Planning Applications

Supplimentary Planning Guidance

Brief Writing

Client Design Advisor

Community Development

Design Codes

Building line drawings

Public Consultation Events

Charette Designs Workshops

Development Plans

Landscape Development

Interiors & Furniture

Interior Design

Shop Fit Consultancy

Furniture Design

Design of Lightfittings

Design for Disabled

Exhibition Design

Product Design


John Simpson is one of the leading architects in Europe and America who have returned in recent decades to the classical language of architecture, with all its richness, subtlety, and historic resonances. His public and private works show how this language lends itself with particular ease to the incorporation of the latest developments in technology. His design ethos revolves around the notion that architecture is a public art, where each facade forms the character and shape of the public realm—the streets, the squares, and the major civic spaces that we use—creating an architectural language that which shapes our collective cultural experience.

Building Beautiful Classical Houses by John Simpson Inviting, perfect in proportion, exquisite in detail- such are a few of the ways to describe homes designed by John Simpson. Well known for his work with the British Royal family at Buckingham and Kensington palaces, for his buildings at Eton College in the U.K. and at the University of Notre Dame in the U.S., he is perhaps most brilliant at the level of the house and home - and never more so than when done for the man himself and for his family. Building Beautiful is an invitation to enter the work of the master designer, as one might visit a treasured friend

From a dream made real within a Venetian palazzo - a former seventeenth-century near ruin, now brought back to glorious, fancicully detailed life - to an English countryside Hall House complete with thatched roof, the homes featured are all expressions of Simpson's unerring eye and an extraordinary sense of beauty. Here we find drama in contrasts of scale and the seductive effects of light, where a cozy reading nook might open to an expansive living room with double-height ceiling that feels, nevertheless, not overly large but rather just right. This is his subtle art, at the centre of which lies a mastery of scale, balance and a pervading sense of elegance.

The ACADEMY: The Walsh Family Hall University of Notre Dame, Indiana celebrates the architect John Simpson’s newly finished building for the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. The language of John Simpson’s architecture, which derives from the 5th century BC, has been daringly applied to new uses and an instant landmark of exceptional interest has been created. Through a judicious combination of classical richness and warehouse-like workspace Walsh Family Hall provides a humane and joyous series of spaces which elevate the spirits of those entering and passing through them.

The Architecture of John Simpson: The Timeless Language of Classicism showcases more than thirty diverse projects, each of which highlights the firm’s commitment to creating architecture and spaces that are both functional and of the moment. Simpson’s architecture is built to last, to be beautiful, and to ensure the comfort and ease of those who experience it, be it the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace or an apartment in a historic building in New York. The work shown here ranges from small-scale residential and apartment designs, to country house, town house, and large-scale institutional projects. Featured schemes include a new academic quadrangle at Eton College, the new school of architecture at the University of Notre Dame, rooms at Kensington Palace, the Stanhope Hotel renovation in New York, town houses in London’s Belgravia and Chelsea, and much more.

The Queen’s Gallery Buckingham Palace and Other Works describes a wide range of work from furniture design to town-planning. It gives pride of place to a principal commission, the new Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace, opened by Her Majesty The Queen in May 2002 as part of the celebrations of her Golden Jubilee. This major new centre for the visual arts in London is beautifully crafted in the classical language with new additions that include a Greek Doric entrance portico and entrance hall, with sculptured friezes and free-standing sculpture by Alexander Stoddart. A richly polychromatic staircase hall leads up to three large new galleries, a number of smaller galleries, and a lecture hall. Behind the scenes, Simpson has completely remodelled the Royal Kitchen, staff quarters, and Trades Yard.

John Simpson has played a key role in the revival of traditional urbanism, as in his design for Paternoster Square next to St Paul's Cathedral, and, more recently in the ambitious Market Hall he has built at the Prince of Wales's new town of Poundbury, Dorset. Other chapters cover his interiors at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, a development inspired by the work of Soane and Cockerell, and Ashfold House, Sussex, which also takes Soanean themes in new directions.

The book is a unique and compelling demonstration of the fruitful interchange of history and practice in modern architecture. John Simpson studied architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. He has received numerous prestigious honors, including the Palladio Award, the Royal Institute of British Architects Award, The Royal Fine Arts Commission Trust Building of the Year Award, the American Institute of Architects Honor Award, and the Arthur Ross Award of the Institute of Classical Architecture, among many others.


Clive Aslet is a novelist, historian, editor, lecturer and the author of more than twenty books. He is director of the Buckingham University architectural summer school and former efitor of Country Life Magazine and Professor at the University of Cambridge Centre for Classical Architecture.

David Watkin was Professor Emeritus of the History of Architecture at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of numerous books, including The Practice of Classical Architecture: The Architecture of Quinlan and Francis Terry, Radical Classicism, The Roman Forum, English Architecture: A Concise History (London 1979; rev. ed. 1991), and A History of Western Architecture (London 1986; 3rd rev. ed. 2001). Watkin was an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, former Vice-Chairman of the Georgian Group, and was a member of the Historic Buildings Council and its successor bodies in English Heritage from 1980-1995. Other publications include The Life and Work of C.R. Cockerell, RA (London 1974), awarded the Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion by the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain; Sir John Soane: Enlightenment Thought and the Royal Academy Lectures (Cambridge 1996), winner of the Sir Banister Fletcher Award; and Morality and Architecture Revisited (London 2001).

Dr Richard John was educated at Cambridge, where he took a starred First in History of Art, at Columbia University, and at the Warburg Institute in London. He taught at the Architectural Association School of Architecture for three years before being elected a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, where he taught Medieval and Renaissance History from 1991-94. He worked for HM King Charles III, when he was The Prince of Wales from 1995-98, first as Director of the Prince's Institute of Architecture in London, and then as founding Director of the Prince's Summer School in Architecture in the United States. In 1999 he joined the Faculty of the School of Architecture at the University of Miami. His publications include The Vitruvian Path (Oxford 1994), Julian Bicknell and Associates: Buildings and Projects (London 1996), Alec Cobbe: Thirty Years of Design and Painting (London 1996), and Thomas Gordon Smith: The Rebirth of Classical Architecture (London: Papadakis Publisher, 2001).



Buy Building Beautiful: Classical Houses by John Simpson

Buy The Academy: The Walsh Family Hall University of Notre Dame, Indiana

Buy The Architecture of John Simpson: The Timeless Language of Classicism


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