George Ferguson, Past President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (2003 to 2005), studied at the University of Bristol School of Architecture (ex RWA School) from 1965 to 1968 and 1969 to 1971 with a year between spent in London. During the 1970's he also took evening life classes at the RWA.
Through his career as an architect his practice, Ferguson Mann, has received many RIBA and Civic Trust awards for new building projects as well as awards from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors for craftsmanship and conservation. George has honorary degrees from both the University of Bristol (MA) for his services to planning and architecture and the University of the West of England (Doctor of Design). He is also an Honorary member of the American Institute of Architects. Over the last 30 years he has shown work at the RWA Autumn Exhibitions and at various architectural exhibitions in London and Bristol. He is a founder Director of the Academy of Urbanism.
A tireless campaigner for a better Bristol, in 1994 he bought and saved the Tobacco Factory which has acted as a catalyst to the revival of South Bristol. The Tobacco Factory Theatre is of national renown and the mixed use project which has become his home has acted as an exemplar of urban regeneration. He also started the Bristol Beer Factory in the old Ashton Gate Brewery building and is a founder of the Bristol Ferry Boat Co.
In his booklet ‘Races against Time’ (1983) he outlined his perceived threats to the world including that of climate change and he continues to campaign on that front. He writes, lectures and broadcasts extensively on architecture and the environment and introduced the notion of the X-Listing of bad buildings in the Channel 4 series ‘Demolition’.
Commenting on influences that have been a part of his work he states: 'My principal influences have been travel and places, never living for more than two years in any one place until I left school. These include Norway, Northumberland, Salisbury Plain and Gibraltar. I continued to travel throughout Europe as a student and further a field since. I love cities, particularly those that have grown organically, their skylines and their spaces, inside and out. Rome is the ultimate example. It is this that has led me to an architecture that is principally to do with place making and less to do with monument making. Architects that had an influence on me include Aldo Rossi and Frank Lloyd Wright. Painters that I have found inspiring include Claude, Turner, Gauguin, Modigliani, Chagall and Hopper.'