Clare Wright RSA (Elect) is a founding partner of Wright & Wright Architects, an award-winning architectural firm, known for its high quality, beautifully detailed contemporary work in sensitive historic settings.
Wright was born in Glasgow in December 1955, the fourth of six children. She grew up there and attended Saturday art classes at the Glasgow School of Art from an early age. She trained at the Mackintosh School of Architecture 1972-78, where she was awarded a 1st class degree. She was individually tutored by Isi Metzstein from 2nd year onwards, except 3rd year, when she was tutored by Andy Macmillan. Her year out was with RMJM, working for John Richards on the Edinburgh Opera House. She moved to London in 1978, with her partner Sandy Wright. There she worked at Rock Townsend for six months, before joining Howell Killick Partridge and Amis.
In the 1980s, when her children were small, Clare taught part-time at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL and North London Polytechnic, as well as establishing a one-woman practice. In 1990 she assumed responsibility for design across Circle 33 Housing Trust’s £45 million annual development programme. There she developed housing design, focussing on the creation of safe neighbourhoods, accessibility and designing zero carbon homes. Circle 33 won 4 RIBA Awards during this period.
In November 1994 Clare established Wright & Wright Architects with Sandy Wright. The following April they won the competition to design a new Library for the Royal College of Art, and in the following September the competition for a Law Department for London Guildhall University and the Women’s Library. Other projects include the Architectural Association Masterplan; a new court for Corpus Christi College Cambridge; Hull Truck Theatre, a new Quad for Magadalen College Oxford, the National Gallery Lower Galleries and the rehousing of the RIBA’s and V&A’s Special Collections at the V&A Museum; a Study Centre for John’s College Oxford; the Museum of the Home and Lambeth Palace Library. Current projects are for the British Academy, The British Museum, the Lobkowicz Family in Prague, St John’s College Oxford, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, St Edmunds College Oxford, Lambeth Palace and Pallant House. Their work has been recognised with many architectural awards including: National RIBA Awards; RIBA Best Building; RIBA Conservation Award; RIBA Accessibility Award; American Heritage Award; Stone and Wood Awards.
Clare has also researched and designed specifically for those with various types of disability, including developing the concept of Lifetime Homes for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and investigating the implications of making housing accessible, for the Blair/Brown Labour Government. In 2018 she published the book ‘Special Collections’.
Clare chaired the RIAS Doolin Award and RIBA Awards in Wales and London; has been Chair of the RIBA Board and RIBA Vice President; a Member of English Heritage’s Urban Panel and of the Building Regulations Advisory Committee, as well as teaching and examining at the MAC and other UK schools of architecture. She was awarded an MBE for services to architecture in 2005.