profile JohnPrewer

John Prewer, CTO and Lookout*

John Prewer is a pioneering architect and designer. He is passionate about sustainable innovation, systems design and low environmental impact technologies. As the godfather of modular building, he has transformed the outlook for the future of architecture.

John was described as a Mastermind of architecture in the Building Design magazine ('Meet the Masterminds: the ten leading minds whose breakthroughs have transformed British architecture'). For more than 35 years John has specialised in the design, development and application of offsite building methods in the UK and abroad. John pioneered modular (volumetric) construction in the UK in the mid 1970s and spent most of his professional life working on the design, development, manufacture and application of modular building methods and related technologies. He trained as an architect in the 1960s and met Buckminster Fuller who has profoundly influenced his work and who he remained in contact with until Buckminster died.

*Lookout definition - Traditionally an experienced and trusted crew member positioned at the head of the highest mast of a ship with an unobstructed view to the distant horizon. The lookout’s task is to spot potential dangers or opportunities well before anyone else on board, and then quickly pass that high value information down to the captain and helmsman, so that they and the crew have as much time as possible to respond with appropriate action.


John specialises in the design and development of environmentally sustainable manufactured building systems, building materials, and components. His design/inventing activities are grouped under 5 headings ­ ENERGY, FOOD, INFORMATION, SHELTER and TRANSPORT and centre on the need to develop primary life support technologies that 'will make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time without ecological offence or disadvantage of anyone'. He is currently developing two types of low cost modular housing for high density urban applications, and co­authoring a book about recent developments in science and technology and how their potentially revolutionary impact makes it possible for mankind to live in harmony with the world's ecosystems ­ due for publication Autumn 2008 ­ provisional title 'Oblivion or Utopia?'

He is a member of the RIBA's Building Futures advisory group, Member of the Royal Institution, and has recently been nominated for election as Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

For various companies he held position as Architectural, Design and Technical Director, and was tutor and external examiner at the Architectural Association school of architecture. John has acted as architect and/or modular building systems consultant to many companies and organisations in the UK and abroad, including The Ministry of Health, The Bank of Mexico, Hilton International, Holiday Inns (Mexico), Quality Inns (USA), Sheraton Town and Country [USA], Forte Hotels, NASA [Houston], the BBC, Heathrow Terminal 5, McDonald's, Microsoft (Seattle, USA), Taylor Woodrow Engineering Ltd, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, GE Capital Services, The UK Round Table on Sustainable Development, Gazeley Properties Ltd.

John is writing and publishing on his subjects widely, and his work has frequently featured in the media, including professional journals, and TV programmes in the UK and abroad.