Office Profile


Garbers & James is a London UK based architectural practice, set up in February 2006 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 works in the UK as well as in Europe, Canada, MER 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 subsequently founded and 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. This extends to wider Heritage Projects and Museum/Fine Art Storage
    • 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 completed the delivery of an 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 earlier Action Research work with King’s Cultural Institute, London, has now moved into the STEAM Research Group at Oxford Brookes School of Education. WJ initiated the MPSM project that brings 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 project has already extended to Norway, Germany and the Republic of Ireland.


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
    • Busing Muffelmann & Theye, Lawyers’ offices; heritage building, Berlin, 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 Storage 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, Germany, France, Italy and China

Professional Registration :     ARB: 048320F RIBA: 5829797

Partner CV Wendy James

Wendy James, Partner CV : 2006-current

2019 – current, consultancy and architectural services for new ACE national

Collection Storage and Loan Operations, including Logistics

2019 – current, Berlin, Germany, private Residence

2019 – 2020, Kuwait, confidential, Brief writing, Museum and Storage Consultancy

2019-2020 – Brighton City Council; Heritage Architectural Consultancy – specialist Cast Iron and Landscape structure Briefing and Development; Procurement Consultancy

2019 – Forestry England, consultancy, Learning Programme

2018 Southbank Centre – Brief Writing, Design, Sculpture Storage

2017 – current, Berlin, Germany, Parkinson’s Rehabilitation Centre, masterplanning, in nature protected area, adjacent listed buildings

2017 – current, Toronto, Canada, Family Mausoleum in Heritage Cemetery

2017 – 2018  ACE : Strategic Planning; Brief Writing for national collections Storage

2017 – 2018 Design & Realisation, including fit-out Craft Brewery, London

2015 – 2017 Maggie’s Cancer Day Caring Centre, Lambert, Scotland,

2014 – 2015 Museum Consultancy; Specification,Kurdistan Museum, Iraq

2013 – current Concept Initiator and ongoing“My Primary School is at the Museum” action research project, with King’s College London and Oxford Brookes University School of Education

2012 – 2017 Qatar – confidential; Strategic planning; Brief Writing; Design through to Tender Documentation, specialist Museum and Fine Art Storage

2012-2017 Executive Architect; Specification Writer; Construction Supervision, new Physics Faculty Building at Durham University; G&J were part of the original competition winning team and submission

2007 – 2012 Maggie’s Cancer Day Caring Centre, Swansea – Design & Realisation; including Accessibility consultancy

2007 – 2009 Nexus – Exec. Architect; Specification  Project Management; Cost Consultancy,Animations Studio, London

2006 – 2013 Tate Modern, London; architectural; engineering and fit-out Brief Writing; whole project Design Management; Client Advocacy for recently completed major capital extension project; Logistics and Storage report; Future-proofing report

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

– Wendy led teams from Competition win to Constructional Completion in Canada Hong Kong, Denmark, Israel, Poland, Sri Lanka and the UK, mostly in the museum / heritage / community and educational sectors

– additionally she acted as In-house Peer Consultant  (constructional detailing; value engineering; project management) for major capital projects in Mexico; USA ; Eire & Switzerland

  • she wrote Specifications within the Studio for jobs in UK, Denmark, Italy, Canada, USA
  • she was responsible for Contract Negotiations for jobs in UK, USA, Spain, Israel, Mexico, Germany, Denmark, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Korea
  • she led further Competition teams in major international cultural & community projects in  USA (finalists) ; Singapore (finalists) ; Taiwan (finalists) ; UK (finalists)

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

Design and realisation of projects: schools, museums, libraries and archive facilities,, community facilities, courts, housing, sports facilities 

1987 – 1990 Associate Partner, Leonard Baart & Nicholas James, Shrewsbury, UK (now Baart, Harries, Newall)

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

1977 – 1987 extensive experience in architectural practices throughout UK; private & public sectors; Heritage and New-build

Professional / Academic:

Past teaching experience- M.Ed. seminar, Marino Institute, Dublin; Honorable Visiting Fellow, UWIST, Cardiff; King’s College London; UCE, Birmingham; LMU, Leeds; University of Cambridge ; UMIST, Manchester 

2016-current Wendy sits on the Fabric Advisory Committee at Salisbury Cathedral

Training / Professional Bodies Membership / Registration etc

2021 CLOtC (Council for Learning Outside the Classroom) Membership

2020 Associate of School of Education, Oxford Brookes University

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 : 2006 – current

2019 – current, consultancy and architectural services for new ACE National  Collection Storage and Loan Operations

2019 – current, Berlin, Germany, private Residence

2019- current, Kuwait, Museum Consultancy in Operations and design, including Temporary International Exhibitions; Conservation & Storage

2019 Design & Implementation of Brand identity, MOLLI Surgical, Toronto, Canada

2018 -2019 Design & Implementation of Brand identity, Temerty Foundation, Canada ( charitable)

2017 – current, Berlin, Germany, Parkinson’s Rehabilitation Centre, masterplanning complex of 4 buildings, in nature protected area, adjacent listed buildings

2017 – current, Toronto , Canada, Design & Realisation family mausoleum in Heritage City Cemetery, including Construction documentation & associated specialist engineering; liaison with bronze foundry

2017 – 2018  Arts Council England : Strategic Planning; Brief for future specialist facility; Interim reconfiguration & increased provision / efficiency for specialist Fine Art Storage / Sculpture

2017 – 2019 Private Residence, Beijing, China including full Construction documentation & Fit-out; Landscape design

2017 – 2018 Design & Realisation, including fit-out & Site Supervision Craft Brewery, London

2016-2017 Technical Facade Consultancy for European Investment Bank, Luxembourg

2015 national Palace Museum, Taiwan- led Competition Design team to Masterplanning of whole complex win

2015 – 2017 Maggie’s Cancer Day Caring Centre, Lambert, Scotland – Design Team Lead; Production & Site Supervision

2012 – 2017 specialist Museum and Fine Art Storage, Qatar – Strategic planning; Design Team Lead & production through to Tender Documentation

2007 – 2012 Maggie’s Cancer Day Caring Centre, Swansea – Design Team Lead; Production & Site Supervision

2007 – 2009 Nexus – Exec. Architect; Animations Studio, London; Construction production documentation & Site Supervision

2005 – 2006 Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada; Design & Realisation Donor Recognition & Museum Signage

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


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: 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