His first big break was being appointed architect for the Custard Factory in Birmingham by developer Bennie Gray. The Custard Factory has gone to become an award winning example of affordable office development, aimed at small arts and design businesses.
Other projects include Timber Wharf and Burton Place for developers Urban Splash in Manchester. In Birmingham, Urban Splash and Glenn Howells collaborated to design a refurbishment of The Rotunda, a highrise building that is currently[when?] being transformed from an office building into a residential building.
Howells' project, the Savill Gardens Visitor Centre at Windsor Great Park, opened in June 2006. The competition winning scheme run by The Crown Estate, was intended to create a gateway to the listed gardens reflecting the character and quality of the park. The building grouped all visitor facilities under a grid shell roof creating a series of linked spaces. The roof is constructed from larch and clad with green oak from sustainable sources from the Windsor Estate. It is supported by an earth structure on the entrance side which houses ancillary facilities, while the garden side is elevated on legs to take advantage of the views.
In October 2006, it was announced that Howells had been appointed to design a large hotel and residential scheme as part of the Snowhill development in Birmingham.[not in citation given] Initial renders showed a grey curved tower with a smaller tower alongside. A public exhibition revealed the tower to be 43 storeys. It would be one of the tallest buildings in the city and would consist of the tallest hotel building and tallest residential building in Birmingham.
In March 2011 the government announced that John Madin's Birmingham Central Library was to be granted an immunity from listing, paving the way for the redevelopment. At the time, Howells was working with Argent Group on proposals for the redevelopment, which remains controversial amongst supporters of the existing library building.
On the twentieth anniversary of his company, Howells said "We have a finance meeting once a month and there are four directors who run the business – there is no master doodler... I have never thought of architecture as a job, but as something which is both hugely challenging and enjoyable, and that is only possible to achieve when working with others."
- "Power 50: No. 21 Glen Howells". Birmingham Post. 17 July 2007. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- Thorne, Alun (8 October 2010). "Twenty years of Glenn Howells architecture". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- Property Week
- Grimley, Terry (16 January 2007). "Artful ambitions". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 2012-09-18.