Nicholas Grimshaw

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Sir Nicholas Grimshaw

Born (1939-10-09) 9 October 1939 (age 81)
EducationWellington College
Alma materEdinburgh College of Art
Architectural Association School of Architecture

Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, CBE, PPRA (born 9 October 1939) is a prominent English architect, particularly noted for several modernist buildings, including London's Waterloo International railway station and the Eden Project in Cornwall.[1] He was President of the Royal Academy from 2004 to 2011.[2] He was chairman of Grimshaw Architects (formerly Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners) from its foundation to 2019, when he was succeeded by Andrew Whalley. He is a recipient of the RIBA Gold Medal.


The Eden Project designed by Nicholas Grimshaw

Grimshaw was born in Hove, East Sussex 9 October 1939.[1] His father was an engineer, and his mother a portrait painter and he inherited an interest in engineering and art. One of his great-grandfathers was a civil engineer who built dams in Egypt, and another was a physician who campaigned for the installation of Dublin's drainage and sanitation system after showing a link between waterborne diseases and streams joining River Liffey. His father died when he was two and a half, and he grew up with his mother, grandmother who was also a portrait painter, and two sisters in Guildford. He displayed an early interest in construction; his boyhood interests included Meccano, building tree houses and boats.[3]

He was educated at Wellington College, and left when he was 17. From 1959 to 1962, he studied at the Edinburgh College of Art before winning a scholarship to attend the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, where he won further scholarships to travel to Sweden in 1963 and the United States in 1964. He graduated from the AA in 1965 with an honours diploma, and having entered into a partnership with Terry Farrell, he joined the Royal Institute of British Architects two years later in 1967.

He worked with Farrell for 15 years before establishing his own firm, Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners, in 1980. In 1989, he won a Royal Institute of British Architects national award for his design of the Financial Times printworks in East London. After designing Britain's pavilion for the Seville Expo in 1992, he was appointed a CBE in 1993, and the following year saw his Waterloo railway terminal awarded the accolade of 'Building of the Year'. That same year (1994) also saw him elected a vice-chairman of the Architectural Association, a member of the Royal Academy and a member of the American Institute of Architects.

Grimshaw's architecture practice continues to grow; it has a global profile, with offices in London, New York, Melbourne and Sydney. The work of Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners was the subject of a series of monographs published by Phaidon Press: Architecture, Industry and Innovation deals with the years 1965–1988; Structure Space and Skin covers 1988–1993; and Equilibrium looks at work up until 2000.

In December 2004, Grimshaw was elected President of the Royal Academy of Arts, a position he held until 2011.[2] Grimshaw is behind the National Institute for Research into Aquatic Habitats (NIRAH) design.[4]


Thermae Bath Spa: the main building, 2006
Grand Union Walk Housing – Flats behind Sainsbury's supermarket, Camden Town, 1988

Projects include:

Awards and honours[edit]

Grimshaw was made a Knight Bachelor in 2002 New Year Honours for services to Architecture. He received an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in 2004 [6] He received the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 2019.[7]


  1. ^ a b Steve Rose (12 October 2007). "Bubble vision". The Guardian.
  2. ^ a b "Nicholas Grimshaw PPRA". Royal Academy of Arts.
  3. ^ "Desert Island Discs - Nicholas Grimshaw". BBC. 19 December 2003.
  4. ^ "NIRAH". Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Herman Miller Factory". Grimshaw Architects. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Heriot-Watt University Honorary Graduates" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 November 2015.
  7. ^ Wainwright, Oliver (27 September 2018). "Architect Nicholas Grimshaw wins RIBA gold medal". The Guardian.

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Phillip King
President of the Royal Academy
Succeeded by
Christopher Le Brun