John Warren obituary

Other lives: Architect, planner, architectural historian and artist

My father, John Warren, who has died aged 86, was an architect, planner, architectural historian and artist. He relished the challenge of bringing both a practical architect’s eye to understanding and decoding important buildings, and a historical literacy to their conservation.

Although he worked on new designs for everything from housing schemes and offices to schools and churches, he also maintained research interests in architectural history, and this blend of skills led to major conservation projects including West Dean College, West Sussex; St Mary’s College, Strawberry Hill, in west London; and the Naval and Military Club in central London. In the Middle East he carried out extensive building conservation in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

He fought the destruction of historic buildings in the wholesale redevelopments that were common in Britain in the 1960s and 70s, and was responsible for saving many of them. He was involved in the creation of the Weald & Downland Living Museum of historic buildings and the Amberley Museum of industrial history in West Sussex, and carried out building conversions for the Landmark Trust.

John was born in London to Jessie (nee Parker), a commercial artist, and Cecil, who worked in insurance. In 1940 the family moved to Sussex, where he attended Collyer’s school, in Horsham, going on to study architecture at King’s College, Newcastle upon Tyne, then part of Durham University, now Newcastle University.

There he met Judith Kershaw, and they married in 1957. After graduating John worked on government projects in Pakistan before winning a Rose Shipman award from the Royal Institute of British Architects that allowed him and Judith to spend eight months in Turkey and Greece studying Ottoman architecture.

In 1964 he co-founded the Architectural and Planning Partnership in Horsham, which by the 80s employed 120 people, with offices in Brighton, London, Edinburgh, Bombay and Baghdad.

Moving to Wensleydale, Yorkshire, in 1998, he continued to work as an architect and to lecture, write and paint, having an associate position at York University. He wrote and contributed to a number of books and papers on architectural conservation and held various advisory appointments including being a Unesco world heritage site inspector.

His interests included industrial history, growing fruit and the contemplative purposefulness of the Quakers. A skilled artist, he had work displayed at several Royal Academy summer exhibitions.

He is survived by Judith, his children, Rebecca and me, and his grandchildren, Kit, Matthew, Francis and Alex.

Philip Warren

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Stephen Marks obituary
Other lives: Planning officer who oversaw the creation of conservation areas and increased the number of listed buildings in Westminster

Kate Macintosh

21, Jun, 2020 @11:39 AM

Article image
Roger Kelly obituary
Other lives: Architect who gave priority to the environment

Tom Kelly

09, Aug, 2019 @3:35 PM

Article image
Peter White obituary
Other lives: Architect dedicated to preserving Birmingham’s waterways

Anthony Burton

11, Jun, 2018 @2:58 PM

Article image
John Taylor obituary
Architect who developed a groundbreaking design for low-cost social housing in Sheffield

Johnny Blomfield

10, May, 2018 @11:51 AM

Article image
John McCall obituary
Other lives: Architect who was committed to civic provision and helped save properties from slum clearance in Manchester

Neville Kirk

04, Nov, 2020 @4:47 PM

Article image
John Graham obituary
Other lives: Architect responsible for many of the buildings in the new town of Harlow in Essex

Chris Snow

25, Aug, 2021 @11:17 AM

Article image
Gordon Maclean obituary
Other lives: Modernist architect who designed airport all over the world

Lysiane Bysh

04, Dec, 2018 @5:50 PM

Article image
John Watson obituary
Other lives: Dairy farmer in south Devon who was an early adopter of organic methods

Rupert Boswall

27, Feb, 2019 @12:34 PM

Article image
Mona Warren obituary
Other lives: Solicitor who became a Labour councillor and vice-chair of Hertfordshire county council

Mike Sheaff

19, Jan, 2022 @6:56 PM

Article image
Leslie Fairweather obituary
Other lives: Managing director of the Architectural Press who was an expert on the design of prisons

Peter Carolin

18, Feb, 2018 @5:27 PM