Category Londos’s Contemporary Architecture

Others in West London

Right: Banksy graffiti. Photo: Martin Hartmann.

Some other west London older architecture to visit. The more historic tends to be themed and packaged, so you have fight to get to the architecture itself:

• Hampton Court Palace, East Moseley, 1514-1882. Former royal palace; large complex including work by Wren and William Kent. Train to Hampton Court. Photo: top left.

• Chiswick House, Hogarth Lane and Burlington Lane, W4, designed by Lord Burlington (1725-29), who also designed Burlington House (The Royal Academy) and, in this instance, was inspired by Palladio’s Villa Rotonda. There is an earlier gateway here, of 1621, by Inigo Jones. Photo: top right.

• Osterley Park, Isleworth. A remodelling by Robert Adam (1763-67), this time of the entire house. Photo: second from top.


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Stockley Park: sanitised arcadia

Stockley is a successful ‘80’s business park on the northern edge of Heathrow. DEGW did the research and briefing; Arup Associates were the master planners and the architects for many of the early buildings in a place where issues of typology loom large within an equation of two-storey development and 25% ground coverage. SOM have buildings on the west side of the scheme; Foster, Troughton McAslan, Ian Ritchie, Geoffrey Darke, and Eric Parry have buildings on the east side. Everyone struggled with the same developer constraints that offered tenants a carefully structured, shell-and-core option (a suburban, low-rise version of Canary Wharf — or vice versa)...

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They’re not much greener than this in 2002 and there still isn’t: an impressive ‘zero-energy’ development on a ‘brownfield’ site (a former sewage works), providing 82 dwellings in a mix of flats, maisonettes and ‘town houses’, plus 2500 sq. m. of workspace and community accommodation, including a health centre, cafe, nursery, etc. (Density is 187 people per hectare.) All this is set out in five long, south-facing rows of 3-storey buildings with narrow spaces between the rows (the ‘gardens’ have become ‘sky gardens’ on the south face; town houses have a small bridge to a roof-top garden on adjacent units, similar to the Branch Hill project). Walls are 300mm wide, stuffed with insulation; other construction is in concrete, bricks and blocks...

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Understatement in Wandsworth

This is a 1930’s paint factory refurbished and extended to provide a mixed use development comprising apartments, a health centre and light industrial units. Located behind a large shopping centre and on a small river that leads into the Thames, the mixed-use development is a refreshing addition to the area and comes from architects excited by (the potentially paradoxical notion of) architectural ‘everydayness’, who describe their work as “so quiet you could almost walk past it, and yet it becomes more interesting the longer you observe it”. This sounds very English. The adopted stance is given as ‘natural’ and always understated: a feigned, born-to-the-poise tradition of sound and cultured good taste that knows of no necessity to self-consciously contrive and project a pose...

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Arthur Road House

Pawson’s house is a delightful, robust addition to just another inter-war London surburbia of semi-d’s — truly an ‘ornament’ to Wimbledon. He makes the most of the narrow, sloping site and provides a fitting end to the street and a most elegant plan (which he describes, enigmatically, as ‘a modern reworking of Sir John Soane’s terrace in Lincoln’s Inn Fields’ (meaning a series of inter-locked volumes that play with perceptions of space, compressing and then opening out in unexpected directions to create a sequence of changing and ambiguous volumes).

At 5m (one room) wide and 80m long, the house has a concrete substructure, with timber framed and clad tower, and steel framed rear section clad in engineering brick...

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