Grade II listing for seminal Rogers’ Spender House
The Spender House in Essex - designed by Richard and Su Rogers in 1968 - has been given Grade II listed status
It is the second building by Rogers to be listed, following the Lloyds Building which was granted Grade I listed status in December 2011.
The Spender House was designed so as to be easily adapted and is constructed from a steel frame divided into a regular grid pattern which allows for a car port and a courtyard space. It was inspired by the design approach of the Case Study houses which the architects visited in America.
The Spender House is an early marker in the evolution of Rogers’ work and brought an industrial aesthetic to his residential buildings. It was followed by the Rogers House in Wimbledon and forms the basis for the Zip Up Prototype Housing Unit which won the ‘House for Today’ competition in 1969.
The design of buildings such as the Pompidou Centre and Lloyd’s of London can all be traced back to these two houses
Richard Rogers said: ‘The design of buildings such as the Pompidou Centre with Renzo Piano, Lloyd’s of London, Fleetguard Factory in Quimper, Inmos and Leadenhall can all be traced back to these two houses.’
English Heritage recommended to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) that the Spender House be listed at Grade II as it was one of the first steel framed houses in England, inspired by residencies built in California in the 1950s, and a milestone in the history of such houses. It is also one of the few projects by Richard and Su Rogers after the disbanding of Team 4 - which the architects ran together with Norman Foster and his wife Wendy Cheesman.
Elain Harwood, a historian with English Heritage said she admired the Spender House for ‘its timeless minimalism, its innovation as an economical live-work environment and for the way that, despite its radical aesthetic, it sat so naturally in its orchard setting.’