Office Profile


Garbers & James is a London UK based architectural practice, set up in 2005 by partners Thore Garbers and Wendy James.

Garbers and James have worked together since 1999 when they met whilst working as Senior Associates within Daniel Libeskind’s Studio (SDL), originally based in Berlin and subsequently New York and Zurich. Garbers & James is currently working in the UK as well as France, Germany, Italy, the Middle East and China.

Garbers’ and James’ most significant experience in their earlier careers was in public cultural, social and educational buildings. They worked all over the world on projects from major International City Masterplanning and Strategic Planning to large public Architectural commissions, as well as Exhibition, Product and Opera Design.  Garbers and James both led design teams to win significant international competitions, coordinating the work of architectural and engineering teams all over the world.

Garbers & James have subsequently developed their practice, specialising in Museum Work and Consultancy, Educational projects and all manner of Construction Services, as detailed further, below.

Garbers & James produce design, management, building, peer review, technical reports and administrative documentation for consumption by central government and regional public office as well as for private sponsors and major contractors.  The partners are closely involved in all stages and can assist in public presentation, cost control and project management, as required.


GJ offer the following specialist Museum Consultancy Services:

  • Strategic Planning and Masterplanning : GJ’s understanding across differing scales of operation, from whole museum complexes to individual programme components and functions, ensures they are well placed to advise on all manner of Strategic and Masterplanning issues. These include long term Capital Schemes and Programmatic planning, as well as short term realisation
  • “Brief and to the Point” : specialist architectural, engineering, fit-out and programmatic museum brief writing
  • Design Management and Peer Review: ensuring that projects are technically and functionally delivered in fully compliant and best practice manner. GJ have the expertise to lead and coordinate multi-disciplinary teams of consultants and contractors to realise exemplary schemes
  • Exhibition Design and Interpretation : GJ have both designed and delivered elements of Exhibitions, and worked closely alongside dedicated Exhibition designers to ensure best visitor experience outcomes that sit with integrity within the architectural whole
  • Programme Development and Fit-Out : GJ have worked across all departments in major national and international institutions to assist in building programme and ensuring the facilities and fit-out is there to support accordingly
  • Future proofing and Sustainability : GJ have delivered future proofing analytical reports, including Operations and Logistics, and routinely work to the highest best practice standards in measurable sustainability
  • Operations; Logistics and Specialist Storage : GJ have undertaken specialist studies and associated planning for major national and international institutions
  • Specification writing : GJ can advise upon or deliver specifications from a number of perspectives
    • performance
    • outline overall scope
    • fully detailed, to cover all aspects of construction specifications
  • Accessibility and Diversity – analysis and programme planning (refer also Education below)
  • Research (refer Education below)

Education and Community

Education lies at the heart of the majority of GJ’s projects, including facilities for pre-school and families; primary; secondary, higher education and third age sectors. Learning is a vital component in GJ’s museum, health-care and dedicated educational projects, which range across the following scope:

  • Full Design Services, Executive Architects (EA) and Construction/Contract Administrators (CA) : GJ have recently completed the delivery of a new award winning Physics Faculty building for Durham University as Executive Architects; have undertaken campus school masterplanning and have designed and delivered award winning cancer healthcare support facilities,where learning was also at the core of the programme. They are currently designing a specialist Parkinson’s care facility in Germany.
  • Accessibility and Diversity : GJ”s experience extends to all aspects of physical, cultural and intellectual accessibility in both the built fabric, as well as programmatic content
  • Specification Writing : GJ’s knowledge of the sector allows comprehensive specification production, as for museums above.
  • Research : WJ is currently running a live Action Research project with King’s Cultural Institute, London, bringing Primary School and Nursery Education directly into UK Museums, with mutual benefits for pupils and museums, as well as their wider families and communities. This has already extended to Norway.


GJ’s extensive experience in the european and international design and construction industry offers Clients the following range of services including

  • Full Design and Delivery Services
  • Design Management, Brief and Legislation Compliance
  • Project Management
  • Executive Project Delivery
  • Specification Writing

GJ Clients: 

Garbers & James’s Client base includes the following:

  • Tate Modern, UK
  • Arts Council England
  • Southbank Centre, UK
  • Temerty Foundation, Toronto, Canada
  • RecuraService GmbH, Germany
  • Small Beer Brew Company, UK
  • MOLLI Surgical, Toronto, Canada
  • Maggie’s – Cancer Caring Centres, UK
  • Durham University, UK
  • National Palace Museum, Taiwan, ROC
  • Confidential : 2 No Museum and Fine Art related projects in the Middle East region
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, USA
  • Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada
  • Salisbury Cathedral, UK
  • a number of smaller Peer Review projects for Regional Museums, UK
  • Nexus, Animations Studio, UK
  • Various private house clients in UK, France, Italy and China
  • Wilde + Spieth, Germany

Professional Registration :     ARB: 048320F RIBA: 5829797

Partner CV Wendy James

Wendy James, Partner CV

2005 –  current, Partner, Garbers & James 

1996 – 2005 Senior Associate Architect, Studio Daniel Libeskind, Berlin, New York, &

Architekt Daniel Libeskind AG, Zürich, Switzerland

2005 – Unawatuna, Sri Lanka : tsunami relief housing & community work

2005 – Residential and retail, high-rise project in Warsaw, Poland

2003 – 2005 Multi Media Faculty building, City University, Hong Kong

2001 – 2005 Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada

2005 – Jewish War Veterans Memorial, Toronto, Canada

2001 – 2003 London Metropolitan University, Postgraduate Centre, UK

2002 – 2003 Danish Jewish Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark

2002 – 2003 Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv, Israel

1998 – 2001 Imperial War Museum North, Trafford, Manchester, UK

1996 – 2004 The Spiral Project, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK

Consultancy (constructional detailing; value engineering; project management) 

University Development, Guadalajara, Mexico

Residential high-rise, Covington, Kentucky, USA

Residential high-rise, Sacramento, USA

Masterplanning and Planning Theatre and mixed commercial development, Dublin, Eire

Mailboat Pier, mixed residential, cultural and commercial development, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Eire

Westside, Bruennen, urban design / mixed development, Switzerland

Specification writing  

Specifications within the Studio for jobs in UK, Denmark, Italy, Canada, USA


International Quilt Study Centre, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA (finalists)

Masterplanning Marina Bay, urban design /mixed development, Singapore (finalists)

National Palace Museum, Taiwan (finalists)

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA (finalists)

Masterplanning Millennium Community, Allerton Bywater, Leeds, UK (finalists)

Magna Carta Project at Salisbury Cathedral, UK (finalists)

1990 – 1996 Principal Architect, Building Design Group, Shropshire C.C., UK 

Responsible for design and realisation of public projects in County, including schools, museums,

libraries, community facilities, courts, housing, sports facilities

1987 – 1990 Associate Partner, Leonard Baart & Nicholas James, Shrewsbury, UK

Private and church educational buildings, social housing, industrial and research projects, diocesan

architects to Hereford and Lichfield Dioceses, including Europa Nostra Award, Pembridge Bell Tower

1977 – 1987 extensive experience in architectural practices throughout UK, including:

York University Design Unit, Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies, York

Allen Tod, Architects, Leeds (now Ian Tod and Company Limited)

Partner in Nicholas and Wendy James, Architects, Shropshire

Sandy Brown associates, Architects and Acousticians, S.Queensferry

Taylor Bown and Miller, Architects, Harrogate (now Darby, Bown & Miller)

Academic / Training : Past teaching experience Honorable Visiting Fellow, UWIST, Cardiff; King’s College London; UCE, Birmingham; LMU, Leeds; University of Cambridge ; UMIST, Manchester

2017 Cultural Learning Alliance; BGEN; AiM & GEM membership (Museums and Botanic Gardens professional bodies)

2010  Museums Association (0032266)

1986  Royal Institute of British Architects (05829797)

1984 Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings

1981  Pt. III / ARB Registration (048320F)

1980  Edinburgh University, Diploma in Architecture

1977  University of Wales, BSc. (Hons.) Architectural Studies

Partner CV Thore Garbers

Thore Garbers, Partner CV 

2005 – current, Partner, Garbers & James 

1999 – 2005 Senior Associate, Studio Daniel Libeskind, Berlin, New York

2001 – 2005 Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada

2005 – High-rise development for Hamburg, Germany

2005 – Masterplanning and Planning Residential development at Keppel Bay, Singapore 2004 – Façade consultancy design, The Spiral Project, V&A, London, UK

2004 – Façade consultancy design and value engineering, Multi-Media Building for

City University, Hong Kong

2001 – Serpentine Gallery, Summer Pavilion, London, UK,

2000 – Studio Barbara Weil, Port Andraix, Majorca, Spain

2000 – Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado, USA 2000 – 2001 University for Advanced Studies, Guadalajara, Mexico

Opera design and co-directing:

2004 Intolleranza, Luigi Nono, Staats Theater, Saarbruecken, Germany

2002 St. Francois d’Assise, Olivier Messiaen, for the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, Germany

2000 – 2001 Tristan and Isolde, Richard Wagner, for Staatstheater, Saarbruecken, Germany

Furniture design:

2004 Grand Piano for Schimmel Pianos, Braunschweig, Germany

2004 Chair for Wilde + Spieth, Germany


2005 Masterplanning Integrated Resort at Marina Bay, Singapore

2005 National Palace Museum, Taiwan, 2005 (final 3)

2001 The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, California, USA

2000 Carnegie Science Centre, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

1999 Masterplanning Competition, Johannishof, Tacheles , Berlin, Germany

Other : Competitions

2001 Eyebeam Museum of Art and Technology, with Reiser + Umemoto, New York, USA

1998 Weinhaus Hut, Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, Germany with Matthias Reese

Other: Film

2007 Freelance Cameraman, feature film, China

1997 – 2000 Freelance Cameraman, Berlin, Germany, internationally recognized feature films, commercials and documentaries, with work for directors including Oskar Roehler and Rosa von Praunheim

1997 – 1998 Camera Assistant for feature films, Germany and Italy

1996 – 1997 Film lighting technician – Berlin and European films 1995 Documentary cameraman, Bremen, Germany

Academic / Training :

2005 Teaching position at Hochschule St. Gallen 1997 Technical University, Berlin, Germany, Architecture, Professor M. Sauerbruch 1992 Freie University, Berlin, Germany, Art History, Science, Literature and Philosophy