Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||John Needham |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||2 April 1909 |
|Died: ||14 January 1990 |
|Bio Notes: ||John Needham was born in Bradford, Yorkshire on 2 April 1909. From 1924 to 1927 he was articled to W P Peters of Leeds and continued after the completion of his articles for a further year as assistant. During this period he studied part-time at Leeds School of Architecture under Joseph Addison who was Head of the School at this time. In 1928 he became a full-time student, completing the course in 1931 after being exempted from the final exam and being elected ARIBA on 17 September of that year proposed by Norman Cullay, B R Gribbon, and Thomas Butlar Wilson. He spent 6 months in the office of J Stables of Ambleside that same year. He also was also on the teaching staff of Leeds School of Architecture but whether that was before or after the period with Stables is not yet clear. In 1929 while he was a student Needham had spent a two month period in France, Italy, Germany and Holland. |
In 1937 he was awarded the Alfred Bossom Silver Medal, in 1938 the Alfred Bossom Gold Medal and the Soane Medal. In 1938 he became head of the School of Architecture at Dundee College of Art. In this post he made ‘that insignificant establishment into one of the most respected schools in the UK within the short space of 10 years’. For a number of years he was a visiting lecturer in environmental subjects in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of St Andrews.
In 1948 he was elected FRIBA proposed by Joseph Addison, Charles Geddes Soutar and John Donald Mills. In 1949 he was an Athens Bursar.
In 1950 he was invited by William Sinclair Gauldie and Arthur Frances Stevenson Wright to join them in partnership as Gauldie Hardie Wright & Needham.
Needham moved to Sheffield in 1957, where he held the post of Professor of Architecture at Sheffield University where he transformed the school from ‘a modest component of the arts faculty into the core of a completely new faculty of architectural studies’ Sheffield was the first in any British university to incorporate architecture, building science, town planning and landscape architecture. As such it embodied Needham’s ideal of architecture as the ‘intersection of all environmental skills’.
Needham was active in professional matters. From 1949 to 1951 he served as President of the Dundee Institute of Architects and Vice President of the RIAS. From 1968-70 he was President of the Sheffield Society of Architects and Surveyors. For several years he sat on the Council of the RIBA and on its Board of Architectural Education. He was often invited to be an external examiner and a competition assessor. For 25 years he was the Secretary of State’s appointee on the amenity committees of both the Scottish Electricity Boards.
He died in Newcastle upon Tyne on 14 January 1990. He was survived by his wife and their three daughters.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|Dundee, Scotland||Business||Before 1950||1975|| |
|Sheffield, Yorkshire, England||Business||1975||Before 1990|| |
|Newcastle upon Tyne, England||Private/business(?)||1990 *|| || |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
Employees or Pupils
|The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Name||Date from||Date to||Position||Notes|
|J Stables||1931|| ||Assistant|| |
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Glendinning, Miles||1997||Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75 || ||Tuckwell Press Ltd||p18 Belmont Hall of Residence|
|RIBA||1950||The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951|| ||London: Royal Institute of British Architects|| |
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Builder||27 January 1950|| || ||p150|
|Builder||3 March 1950|| || ||p309|
|Builder||31 March 1950|| || ||p438|
|Builder||27 September 1957|| || ||'Presentation', p564|
|Building||9 February 1990||v255|| ||p39 - obituary|
|RIBA Journal||March 1990||v97||London: Royal Institute of British Architects||p106 - obituary by Sinclair Gauldie|