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Farrell, Sir Terence 1938-, Architect and Planner

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  • 1938-

Sir Terence Farrell CBE FRIBA FRSA FCSD MRTPI (born 12 May 1938), known as Terry Farrell, is a British architect and urban designer. Sir Terence Farrell CBE FRIBA FRSA FCSD MRTPI (born 12 May 1938), known as Terry Farrell, is a British architect and urban designer. Sir Terry initially lived in Sale, Greater Manchester and considered it to be his ‘first home’. His family moved to Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1946 and Sir Terry lived on the newly formed, Grange Estate, just north of Gosforth. This location provided him with opportunities to explore the countryside to the north of Newcastle, developing a fondness for rivers, woods and wildlife. The Ouse Burn and Seaton Sluice became favourite childhood places to frequent. Sir Terry attended St Cuthbert’s grammar school in west Newcastle and claims to have underachieved academically, deciding to become an architect when he won a drawing competition run by the Northern Architectural Association, in 1954, at the age of 16. During this period he became familiar with the history of development within the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and these ideas matured during his professional career.

Sir Terry studied architecture at Newcastle University, Kings College (at the time part of Durham University). After a motorbike accident in his second year he was able to use the compensation to get on the property ladder, and so began a career in property whilst still studying to be an architect. Sir Terry was inspired by the works of Le Corbusier and Buckminster Fuller, which influenced his final year thesis project, the Climatron, an imagined leisure complex off the coast of Blackpool, Lancashire.

In 1961, Terry Farrell had some exposure of working in an architect’s office with the London County Council, before studying planning and design at the University of Philadelphia, USA under the direction of Louis Kahn. Whilst at graduate school he took the opportunity to travel the USA with his wife, Rosemarie and young family, touring the experimental building designs of Frank-Lloyd Wright and venturing further afield to Tokyo and Delhi, experiencing many different building styles and urban planning priorities.

Sir Terry Farrell set up his first architecture business as a partnership venture with Nicholas Grimshaw in 1965. With virtually no business experience the two developed an architectural practice, The Farrell Grimshaw Partnership, which specialised in eclectic and experimental building projects, known as ‘private sector urban regeneration.’ Examples of these projects include; The Student Hostel Conversion, Paddington; Park Road Flats, Regents Park and The Colonnades/Porchester Square.

In the late 1970’s, the Farrell Grimshaw Partnership experienced a division of architectural direction, and Sir Terry Farrell set up his own company, The Terry Farrell Partnership (1980-1991). This organisation was integral to developing the ‘Terry Farrell Brand,’ and encompassed a small architectural office of no more than 25 staff, many of whom gained experience within the organisation before forming successful architectural practices of their own. The Terry Farrell Partnership were involved in designing buildings across London synonymous with ‘Post-Modernism’, such as Vauxhall Cross (MI6) and Charing Cross/Embankment Place’ although Sir Terry has always steered clear from fully aligning himself with that style. Other iconic development projects attributed to the Terry Farrell Partnership include Alban Gate/London Wall, Tobacco Dock and Comyn Ching Triangle.

In time, The Terry Farrell Partnership would also be known as Terry Farrell and Company (1991-1995), Terry Farrell and Partners (1995-2013), along with Farrells, circa 2013 (which is still in operation under this name today). During the 1990’s, the practice expanded internationally, opening offices in both Edinburgh and Hong-Kong and has been responsible for major urban design projects, such as the Kowloon Transit Interchange Terminal, Hong Kong; Inchon International Airport, South Korea; and The Deep Aquarium, Hull.
Sir Terry Farrell received a CBE in 1996, and a knighthood in 2001 for services to architecture and urban design. He has currently a Design and Planning Leader for the Thames Gateway Project, and is on the Design Advisory Committee for the Mayor of London.

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