By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Your browser seems to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser.


Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.




It is unlikely Jane Tranter and David Attwood, clients for John Pardey's Attwood House (Building Study, pages 31-39) picked up all the architect's references to Richard Neutra, let alone worried about an affront to Mies in the demolition of one of the original columns. These are among the issues Niall McLaughlin raises in his review of the building, in which he discusses the different sensibilities of Pardey and of Victor Hutchings, the architect of the original house, which Pardey has incorporated in his design.

The clients' interests, though informed, are different again. McLaughlin describes their view of 'the narrative of the site as having equal importance to the physical environment'. They knew the architect they wanted and also had the determination to see his designs through planning battles. Pardey has repaid them with a house that is in sympathy with their aspirations. Although he uses each successive project as the next step on his journey of ideas, he does not disregard his clients' wishes in the process. Indeed, here he made the huge compromise of retaining a building that he would have preferred to demolish.

Does it matter what his ideas were, or how McLaughlin interprets or criticises them? They certainly make for interesting reading but, more than that, they give a depth to the building. If the current clients do not grasp them all and future owners are likely to remain entirely ignorant of them, that is not the point.

The current issue of the Royal Academy's magazine discusses the significance of items in its new show on China. To many visitors they will simply be beautiful objects but the deeper thinking that informed their creation makes them more than mere decoration. At Attwood House, Pardey's physical and theoretical additions to 'the narrative of the site' will result in a level of pleasure for future residents and visitors that will not be diminished if they are unaware of the background story.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

The searchable digital buildings archive with drawings from more than 1,500 projects

AJ newsletters