17 Facts About Wells Coates


Wells Wintemute Coates OBE was an architect, designer and writer.


Wells Coates was, for most of his life, an expatriate Canadian who is best known for his work in England, the most notable of which is the Modernist block of flats known as the Isokon building in Hampstead, London.


The oldest of six children, Wells Coates was born in Tokyo, Japan on December 17,1895 to Methodist missionaries Sarah Agnes Wintemute Coates and Harper Havelock Coates.


Wells Coates served in World War I, first as a gunner and later as a pilot with the Royal Air Force.


Wells Coates 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.


Wells Coates attended the 1933 Congres International d'Architecture Moderne, which produced the famous Athens Charter, and was one of the founders, with Maxwell Fry, of the Modern Architectural Research Group, the British wing of CIAM.


Between 1932 and 1936 Wells Coates was in partnership with an English architect David Pleydell-Bouverie and designed together the Sunspan House for the 1934 Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition held at Olympia, London.


Wells Coates embraced Le Corbusier's architectural mantra that buildings should be 'machines for living'.


An inventive genius, Wells Coates revelled in introducing new ideas in his work.


Wells Coates designed the "D-handle", a simple door handle design commonly employed, for example, in Scandinavian furniture.


Wells Coates designed the distinctive and influential round bakelite cabinets used by EKCO for some of its radios during the 1930s.


Wells Coates is less well known for his planning work.


Wells Coates prepared plans for a Toronto Island Redevelopment Project, and was a participant in the Project 58 urban redevelopment scheme for Vancouver.


Wells Coates began coming back to Canada in the early 1950s, about the time of the Iroquois project, finally settling there in 1957.


Wells Coates returned to Vancouver after two years, where he worked on Project 58.


Wells Coates died of a heart attack in Vancouver on June 17,1958 at the age of 63.


Wells Coates' grandson is Matt Black of the electronic music duo Coldcut.