James Gibbs has over 30 years of diverse experience in new construction, historic preservation, site planning, and urban design. He is a graduate of Brown University and earned his professional degree in architecture from the University of British Columbia.
Early in his career, he worked with the internationally acclaimed firms of Frank O. Gehry and Le Group SOPHA, both in California, and the ZGF Partnership in Oregon. In such capacity, he participated in the design of museums and galleries, urban retail and business centers,
medical facilities, and custom residences. As an urban designer with ZGF, he was also intimately involved with the comprehensive streetscape redesign of downtown Portland’s historic districts, and the urban design for new transit-oriented suburban development, both in conjunction with a pioneering new light rail transit system. In 1983, Mr. Gibbs returned to his native New England, becoming an associate partner of the Old Lyme firm of Interdesign, specializing in custom residences and light commercial projects, and the adaptive reuse of historic structures. In 1986, he opened his own firm of James Gibbs, AIA, Architect operating first out of Old Lyme and since 1991 in Mystic, with a focus on regional residential and commercial architecture in the historic context.
Mr. Gibbs has also served as a preservation planner for both the States of Connecticut and Rhode Island, and is certified as an Architectural Historian under the National Park Service Historic Preservation Program. He has authored preservation studies, historic district guidelines, and National Register nominations for the Towns of Stafford, Westport and Groton in CT, and Providence, East Greenwich, South Kingstown, Portsmouth, Middletown, Jamestown and Block Island in RI. As a charter member of the Mystic River Park Commission, he coordinated the design efforts to reclaim an abandoned warehouse site for a river side park in the Mystic Historic District. More recently,he coordinated code upgrades to historic Trinity Repertory Theater, and a new residential complex for the disabled. While with NCA, he participated in the master planning for the National Museum of the Bahamas involving the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of one of Old Nassau’s most significant historic structures, the reconstruction of an historic jail and redoubt at Fort Adams, and the design and construction of a new visitors’ center to the National Historic Landmark Touro Synagogue in Newport.
After nearly a decade of practice in RI, Mr. Gibbs returned to private practice in his home town of Stonington, CT, opening his office in historic Mystic Village in 2009. His current and recent work includes projects in RI, CT, NY and WA. Among these are a preservation manual for the Westport (CT) Historic District Commission, an adaptive reuse study for an historic mill, new custom residences in the Mystic Historic District, interior architecture for a private residence at the historic landmark Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, a self sustainable vacation residence on a private island in Puget Sound, interior space planning and renovations for business and retail centers, the preservation and commemoration of a Revolutionary War site for the Westport (CT) Historic District Commission, and master planning for the New England Science & Sailing Foundation, a community boating and marine sciences center on Fishers Island Sound.