Spencer de Grey

Spencer de Grey

Senior Executive Partner Head of Design MA Dip Arch (Cantab)

Spencer studied at Cambridge University, joining the practice in 1973. He set up Foster + Partners’ Hong Kong office in 1979 for the Hongkong Bank project, returning in 1981 to work on Stansted Airport and the Sackler Galleries at the RA. Since then he has worked on a wide range of cultural, civic, education and masterplan projects, including the Great Court, the Sage and MFA Boston. He is visiting Professor of Design at Cambridge University and a Royal Academician. In his spare time, Spencer enjoys music, opera, the theatre and travel.


Spencer de Grey shares responsibility for all Foster + Partners’ projects as joint head of design, a key member of the Design Board and a member of the Partnership Board. He studied architecture at Cambridge University under Sir Leslie Martin. On graduating in 1969 he worked for the London Borough of Merton, being responsible for one of the first Middle schools in the country. Sustainability is one of his key areas of interest.

He joined the practice in 1973, continuing his work in education on the Palmerston Special School, and in 1979 he set up the Hong Kong office to work on the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank. He returned to London in 1981, becoming the director in charge of Stansted Airport, which he saw through to completion in 1991. During this period, he also worked on the BBC Radio Centre and the Sackler Galleries at the Royal Academy of Arts, both in London. Since becoming a partner in 1991, he has overseen a broad range of projects, including the Commerzbank Headquarters in Frankfurt, the Law Faculty at Cambridge University, the Great Court at the British Museum, The Sage Gateshead, HM Treasury in Whitehall, and nine City Academy schools in the UK. He has been responsible for a number of cultural projects in the USA, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Winspear Opera House in Dallas and the courtyard at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.. Recent projects include masterplans for the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong and Slussen in Stockholm, now under construction, and the Museum of Roman Antiquities in Narbonne.

He is visiting professor of design at the University of Cambridge, and president of the Building Centre Trust. He also lectures widely. In 1997 he was made a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List and in 2008 was elected a Royal Academician of the Royal Academy of Arts.

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