1-3 Willow Road – London
Architect: Erno Goldfinger
Goldfinger designed this small row of houses in 1939 and lived with his family at number two until his death in 1987. The house is now owned by the National Trust, who offer tours in the morning and an open house in the afternoon for a cost of £6 to non trust members. I certainly don’t begrudge paying that to maintain the place and keep it open to the public. It’s fascinating to have a wander around Goldfinger’s office and living room, look at his bookshelf and collection of art. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable, answering all of our questions and giving us interesting tit-bits of information. One interesting thing I noticed is that while the rest of the house is quite spacious, the kitchen is incredibly small. I guess he wasn’t much into cooking.
The exterior of the building is quite conservative, the brick facing allowing it to blend seamlessly into suburban Hampstead. However, modernist elements such as the flat roof, the large ribbon window and the concrete columns mark it out from the other buildings in the area, giving us a taste of his future work.
Here’s the link to the National Trust page for the building:
The Royal Free Hospital – London
Construction: 1968 – 1974
Architect: Llewllyn-Davies, Weeks, Forestier-Walker and Bar
I was on my way to see Erno Goldfinger’s house in Hampstead on a scorching June afternoon when I stumbled upon this concrete behemoth. It was the first thing that I saw as I got off the bus and I immediately unsheathed my trusty camera.
A 16 floor cruciform block rises up in the centre of lower rise surrounding buildings. The windows and black external walls of the block seem to hang within an exoskeleton of classic grey concrete. Translucent external stairwells serve to break up the facade. The facility was state of the art when it opened in 1974 (although it wasn’t officially opened by the Queen until 1978, presumably she has a pretty busy schedule) and was one of the first designed using CAD1.
I only had chance to get a couple of shots from the Pond Street side, but the building certainly looks worthy of a more in depth study, and hopefully I’ll get chance to do that sometime soon.