Episode Three – Peter Rees

My guest this week is Peter Rees, now Professor of Places and City Planning at The Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London.

Before returning to the Bartlett in 2014, Peter was, for nearly 30 years, the Chief Planning Officer in the City of London. Over this time he oversaw the architectural transformation of the Square Mile.

Peter Rees
Prof. Peter Rees. Image credit: UCL

In this week’s episode we find out which architect used a model of a stealth bomber as his inspiration. We talk about egos and editing; Penarth and Powerpoint. We ask why London Mayors are obsessed with changing the design of buses.

We find out how James Stirling called meetings and discover which influential architect would like to sleep – or pretend to sleep – in meetings.

Listen below, subscribe on iTunes or by searching for Architecture Masters in your podcast app.

Inspiration: an early copy of the Architectural Review, which Peter bought with his pocket money

Peter originally qualified as an architect after studying both at the Bartlett and at the Welsh School of Architecture in Cardiff.

He started his career working alongside the architect Gordon Cullen, author of the influential book Townscape. After a brief stint at Lambeth Council he went on to become Chief Planning Officer for the City of London Corporation, where he stayed for nearly 30 years.

Perhaps more than anyone else, he was responsible for overseeing the architectural transformation of the Square Mile in the wake of the big bang deregulation that opened up London’s financial centre in the 1980s.

From James Stirling’s Number One Poultry, to The Gherkin by Norman Foster, the Walkie Talkie by Rafael Viñoly and to One New Change by Jean Nouvel – Peter oversaw the creation of some of Britain’s most iconic buildings.

After leaving the City of London, he returned to his alma mater, this time as a Professor.

For this week’s episode I spoke to Peter in his office at the Bartlett.