John is a practicing Urban Designer and Masterplanner and Managing Director of John Letherland Ltd. John studied architecture at Manchester where his education and interest in urban design had its foundation. A lifetime’s fascination with urban landscape has always been the cornerstone of his work; he believes that successful urban design begins with context, memory and continuity, and the places and spaces between buildings, rather than buildings themselves.
He worked in practice with Sir Terry Farrell for over 35 years where he worked on many of the largest and most complex projects worldwide. John was a founding partner of Farrells LLP and led the work of Farrells Urban Design Group. Experience gained on a variety of master planning and architectural projects combined successfully in a variety of high profile mixed-use, residential, retail, cultural and arts-related projects in the UK and Ireland, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and New Zealand.
John’s London work during this time includes the development of design frameworks for the Thames Gateway, Marylebone-Euston Road, Euston Circus, Kings Cross, the Isle of Dogs, the Greenwich Peninsula, Nine Elms and the Vauxhall Gyratory, Bishopsgate and a masterplan for a new global entertainment resort in the Thames Gateway. Much of this work was featured work was showcased in the Architectural Review ‘Manifesto for London’ and in the 2010 book ‘Shaping London’.
John has also led master planning initiatives all around the UK, including Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle, Coventry, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, as well as new eco-based urban extensions at Ebbsfleet and Bicester. In 2013, he received an RTPI Award for ‘Best Conceptual Project’ for his work on the Master Plan for Nine Elms.
In 2014 John was invited by the Kent School of Architecture to teach an MA course in Urban Landscape at the University of Kent and in 2019 he became a senior lecturer and acting course convenor. In early 2016, John set up his own urban design consultancy to pursue new and interesting challenges in both practice and teaching.
He is a long-standing member of the Academy of Urbanism and also a Trustee of Design South-East, a not-for-profit organisation and the region’s leading source of Built Environment Design Support. John is also a Design Council: Built Environment Expert, a network supporting and guiding the delivery high-quality designed places throughout England. The BEEs provide multi-disciplinary support to communities, local authorities and developers involved in built environment projects. John is also a Freeman of The Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects, who promote world-class placemaking and architecture in the City of London, where he lives.
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