Credentials

The firm of Geoffrey James A.I.A. Architect offers comprehensive and professional design services in Architecture, Urban Design, City Planning, Master Planning, and Land Use. Civil and Structural Engineering is provided by contracted professional firms. 

Geoffrey James A.I.A. 

Geoffrey James celebrated 50 years of international architecture in 2013, having graduated in Wales in 1963. His was the prize winning design thesis at the 5th Year at the Welsh School of Architecture, and he was awarded the T.Alwyn Lloyd Prize in Town Planning for his work on developing an Urban Design Plan for the coastal city of Penarth in Wales. The firm of Sir Basil Spence took notice and invited Geoff up to the headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland. Sir Basil Spence was knighted by HM the Queen for his remarkable design for the new Coventry Cathedral, next to the 13th Century Gothic Cathedral that was destroyed  by German bombing in World War II. They had some exciting projects, including the new Glasgow International Airport, and Geoff also worked on the competition for Berlin (Tegel) Airport. For three years he worked on the design of the largest university library in the world in Edinburgh University. H.M. The Queen opened the library in 1967. He became a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Geoff then was hired as an executive architect at the largest construction firm in the country and headed up the design of housing types constructed by the Swedish Skarne system of steam cured concrete components. He worked on the New Towns of Livingston and 2000 homes at Alnickhill, both in Scotland.

In 1968 Geoff was hired, in London, next to Buckingham Palace, at the London Hilton, by a U.S. firm that needed a British architect to show them how to build using natural day lighting and energy conservation. So SWC&F helped to arrange for a visa and soon after Geoff and his new bride travelled to the US Embassy in London for interviews.  They looked forward to the move because they had friends in just about every state. The job in New York was mostly designing schools in the northeast states, plus he designed the new University Library at State University of New York at Cortland. Travelling most weekends they soon discovered the Pacific Northwest had a similar climate to the UK, especially west of the Cascades. So Geoff sought a job in that part of the US. However the job that was offered was an exciting one, working on a World's Fair in Spokane Washington, i.e. Expo 74, and Geoff designed two international pavilions, Australia, and China. He also worked on two schools in Alaska, and an office building in Boise Idaho.

In 1974 Expo opened, and Geoff looked again for the UK climate and was offered a job in Salem Oregon, to design the new buildings for Chemeketa Community College. He designed several new buildings on that new campus, all connected by skybridges. Geoff of course became a citizen and a partner in the firm and a US (NCARB) and Oregon architect license, and a member of the American Institute of Architects. He became chair of the Skybridge Committee downtown Salem and started that program. Appointed to the Planning Commission he became Chair. The Capitol Building needed remodeling so Geoff added new technology that was carefully integrated in the architecture. He was appointed to the Capitol Planning Commission.

In 1982 he became President of his own firm, then the largest A&E firm in the Willamette Valley, i.e. PRA Pacific Region Architects, Engineers, Surveyors, with ten partners. The firm designed condos at the Oregon Coast, military bases for the National Guard, prisons, schools, and state buildings.

In 1987 the work took him back to England to design luxury housing in London, and a hotel in Kent, for a Saudi client.

In 1988 he designed condos in Kona Hawaii.  Then three large apartment towers in Giza, Cairo, Egypt for the same Saudi client.

So his work has been in seven states, and five countries. But his base the last 30 years since PRA was started has been Salem Oregon. Sometimes his projects involve travel, like 16 projects in Puget Sound in the late 90's, and Central Oregon where he has designed projects in Bend and Sisters, and as far as La Grande to the East, and a regional shopping center in Roseburg to the South.

He has worked on most building types, from houses to hospital, from schools to skyscrapers, and from colleges to condominiums.

In 2011 he was appointed Chair of the Courthouse Square Technical Committee. This is a Marion County office building that had serious structural problems. Consultants said it would cost $65M to fix it. Geoff found a way to fix it for 1/3 of that, i.e. saving the County some $35M.  That is his style, i.e. always finding a way for the building owner to get true value and protecting their investment. He has a track record of achieving affordably low construction costs, by careful and innovative design and by always putting the client's interest first. Affordable and Responsible is his motto, and it shows in his achievements of buildings that cost less to build, but fit the client's detailed needs.

In 2013 Geoff chaired the Morningside Neighborhood committee on the Neighborhood Plan and designed the map for development over the next 50 years.  He also completed a four year term as Assistant Governor of Rotary International, the premier international service organization, in 200 countries, that is involved in saving lives around the world, e.g. eradicating polio.  He and his wife Janita just celebrated 45 years of marriage, and they have two (married) daughters and four wonderful grandchildren.

Geoff would very much like to work with you on your future new building or alterations to existing buildings. Do call for a free appointment, at your convenience, in Salem, or at your site location.

 

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