George Clarke was born and raised in Sunderland. Both of his grandfathers were builders and, after spending school holidays in and around building sites, it was not much of a surprise that he decided he wanted to be an architect from the age of 12.
After graduating in 1995, George trained and worked with FaulknerBrowns before joining world famous architect Sir Terry Farrell. In 1998, with partner Bobby Desai, he formed his own company - clark:desai – and quickly build an exclusive client base, including public figures such as Simon Fuller and Jamie Oliver.
George’s television career came about by chance. He’d approached a literary agent after being asked to write a book about architecture, not realising the agency also represented television presenters. He was subsequently asked screen test for a Channel 5 program called Build A New Life In The Country. Obviously a natural presenter, George was offered the job and went onto present two more shows for Channel 5 before being commissioned to present The Restoration Man for Channel 4.
Not content with simply presenting, George is the founder of TV production company Amazing Productions and presents some of the most popular programs for Channel 4 including George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, Shed of the Year, Ugly House to Lovely House and Old House, New House. He set up Clarke + Partners in 2011, and although they design new buildings, much of their work is in renovation and refurbishment. This is a function of working in London, where there is “relatively little new built”.
George is passionate about the problems of the housing market, nationally and in London. He sees it as controlled by a tiny number of mass builders more interested in property speculation than affordable housing; and governments, which last only four years, lack the will to be “as revolutionary as they need to be. I sometimes feel housing should be non-political, like the NHS, ring-fenced and protected and not a political stick that’s thrown around.”
George has fronted The Great British Property Scandal for Channel 4 - a groundbreaking campaign series, which investigates the British housing crisis and the scandal of empty homes across Britain. He is also an Ambassador for the housing and homelessness charity Shelter. He says “We all need and deserve a place to call home. Somewhere safe, secure and affordable. Any one of us could become homeless tomorrow. Together, we all face the consequences when thousands of families grow up in homes that are simply not good enough. And together, we can fix it.” . He is a Prince’s Regeneration Trust Ambassador, a patron of the design and architecture charity The Civic Trust, he also works with Maggie’s the cancer charity and with Sunderland Association Football Club on it’s Beacon of Light and Foundation of Light projects.
He has 3 children, is divorced and lives in London.
So, why is he a #Houseproud hero?
George celebrates ingenious and eccentric architecture and believes that every house has the potential to be made into something beautiful. We love his down to earth manner, gorgeous Geordie accent and that he’s such a massive supporter of Shelter too. He says:
“We should be building houses like we build cars — controlled environment, huge amount of research and development, high levels of quality control. I often wonder what a house designed by [James] Dyson, or Paul Smith, or the head designer of Jaguar, Ian Callum, would be like. We need to build more, and build better and more efficiently, simple as that, and stop building Noddy boxes on green belt.”
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