The owners of a seminal Ted Cullinan house are refusing to sell the property to an estate agent that would save the house from the current threat of demolition.
The landowners appear to be unconcerned about selling the house to buyers keen to use an existing permission to knock it down.
It is known that at least one local agent has approached the occupants of the 1958 Mervyn Horder house with several offers to save the property, including one using the original architect to build an extension. His approaches have been met with refusal.
But after an outcry within the architecture community, led by Penoyre & Prasad director Sunand Prasad, there is an increasing possibility that the house could be listed.
Such a move would nullify the planning permission that allows demolition of the £850,000 property. This would reduce the house's value by thousands of pounds.
A veil of secrecy has remained around the owners of the house, who, when contacted by the AJ, claimed to have already sold the property and moved away.
The Twentieth Century Society submitted an application for spot-listing of the house in January, but claims that English Heritage refused the application. English Heritage, however, maintains that its consideration of listing is still ongoing and that no decision has been made.
Sunand Prasad said: 'I have just heard that this wonderful house is threatened with demolition. I had expected that it was securely on its way to being listed as an early architectural example of a key period of British Modernism.
'In this period the International style gave way to a more pluralist architecture, much more concerned with the specialness of the place, with the use and relationship of materials and, above all, with a close reflection of the patterns of use and occupation.' Robin Nicholson, a senior director at Edward Cullinan Architects, said: 'We will do anything we can to get this house listed. We became anxious about its future last autumn and I'm really shocked they got planning permission to demolish it without us knowing.
'This is symptomatic of the culture we live in - I think there should be a level of respect.
'No Cullinan house has ever been listed, which is pretty strange. I'm optimistic that the building will be retained, even if another is built on the site.'