Wells Coates

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Wells Wintemute Coates OBE (December 17, 1895 – June 17, 1958) was an architect, designer and writer. He was, for most of his life, an ex-patriate Canadian architect who is best known for his work in England. His most notable work is the Isokon building in Hampstead, London.

Early years

The oldest of six children, Wells Coates was born in Tokyo, Japan on December 17, 1895 to Methodist missionaries Sarah Agnes Wintemute Coates (1864–1945) and Harper Havelock Coates (1865–1934).

The young man's desire to be an architect was inspired by his mother, who had herself studied architecture under Louis Sullivan and planned one of the first missionary schools in Japan.

Coates spent his youth in the Far East, and voyaged around the world with his father in 1913. He served in World War I, first as a gunner and later as a pilot with the Royal Air Force. He attended the University of British Columbia where he obtained a BA degree in May 1920 and a BSc degree in May 1922, and in October 1922 he registered at East London College where he studied engineering (obtaining a PhD in 1924). Among his first jobs in England was as a journalist and then with the design firm of Adams and Thompson in 1924. He established his own firm in 1928.

His childhood experiences in Japan would play an important role in his aesthetic sensibility that he brought to his architectural work, and...
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