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Docomomo – The 1968 Rogers House Restoration & re-invention by Gumuchdjian Architects 2015-17

2 March - 18:00 - 19:30


The Grade 2* listed 22 Parkside is a spectacular utopian prototype and a home that that was characterised by its continental modernist sensibility. Parkside was designed by Richard & Su Rogers with Engineer Anthony Hunt in 1968 as a home for Rogers’ parents and a blueprint for industrialised housing. Rogers’ radical use of fully-glazed facades created an enfilade of gardens and courtyards in whereby interiors metamorphose into external spaces and vice versa. In this way the buildings’ materiality is dissolved and a total environmental composition was created.

This talk will cover the 2015-17 restoration and re-invention by Gumuchdjian Architects, whereby they delivered a sensitively modified version of the original Rogers’ House for Harvard Graduate School of Design’s and its future use as accommodation for two research Fellows and spaces to hold seminars and public events related to the Richard Rogers Fellowship programme – dedicated to advancing research on a wide range of issues that are critical to shaping the contemporary city.

The gentle proposition saw a return of the house to an approximate arrangement in the 1990’s and integrating wherever possible advanced modern materials.

This seemingly gentle proposition resulted in a radical project that saw the replacement of three quarters of its envelope (the entire roof and all of its asbestos-filled external walls), the demolition of recently-added buildings, the removal of new internal partitions, the replacement of its servicing system, the refurbishment of all joinery and furniture and the re-design of its entire garden context from the street front to the rear of the property. The resulting design regained much of its earlier transparency and created subtle new vistas.

The house was conceived as a kit of parts in an age before such concepts were commonplace. Key to this was the idea of a permanent armature (structure) that was clad with shorter life elements such as the panels, glazing etc.. Our approach raised significant conservation dilemmas as orthodox conservation generally requires the preservation or like-for-like replacement of historic fabric. With the guidance and support of Paddy Pugh (John McAslan + Partners and ex-English Heritage) the practice developed an approach that focused on protecting the ‘character’ and special architectural interest of the building rather than its fabric.

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