There was an impressive turnout near Wimbledon Common last Tuesday night at a party to celebrate a new life for 22 Parkside, the house Richard Rogers designed in 1968 for his parents and which he recently donated to Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design
Rogers’ former business partner Norman Foster and his wife Elena mingled with the likes of Eric Parry, Farshid Moussavi, Zaha Hadid Architects’ chief executive Mouzhan Majidi and Christophe Egret and David West. Rogers’ wife Ruthie and son Ben were also in attendance, although Rogers himself is recuperating from illness in Italy.
Given its Italian associations, the house – newly renovated by Philip Gumuchdjian – was naturally designed to make the most of family life, home cooking and food in general. ‘My mother loved to cook and so the open plan kitchen is the heart of the house where family and friends could gather, very much in the Italian way,’ Rogers said in 2013 when the house received its Grade II* listing.
Rogers party crop
It was apt, therefore, that the canapés on the night were of an exceptional standard and Foster himself was spotted making use of the impressive cheeseboard almost as soon as he arrived - possibly something the hosts knew about judging by one of the volumes spotted on the bookshelf.
World of cheese
Has anyone not had a turn yet?
Readers will know all about the saga surrounding the proposed £600 million redevelopment of Elizabeth House in London’s Waterloo – a journey best described as a thrill-packed rollercoaster ride followed by a lengthy snooze.
The tale begins in earnest in 2004 with the unveiling of a 32-storey, sail-shaped design drawn up by RHWL. Following opposition from Transport for London, that concept was withdrawn.
In came Allies and Morrison with its ill-fated Three Sisters scheme. Following that scheme’s demise in 2009 (at the hands of the secretary of state) a hopeful David Chipperfield Architects rocked up. In 2012 the practice revealed its all-new plans (pictured) for the key central London site and managed to fend off stiff opposition from English Heritage and Westminster City Council – including a High Court challenge – to bag the final permissions two and a half years ago. Since then the mammoth project has languished on the drawing board, despite behind-the-scenes attempts to break it up into more manageable chunks.
Until recently, that is, when the site was snapped up by ambitious Bratislava-based developer HB Reavis for about £250 million. Unsurprisingly, the purchase seems to have prompted yet another change of design lead. At MIPIM in March the gossip was that the developer was looking at alternative schemes to Chipperfield’s. It is now understood the developers are also talking to AHMM, Eric Parry Architects, Foster + Partners, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and Make. More twists and turns seem inevitable.
Talking of sagas,The National Trust for Scotland has remained mute about the winner of its contest for a temporary visitor centre at Hill House – a competition which was launched in April 2016.
The word on the street is that Carmody Groarke has won the job at the 1902 Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed landmark in Helensburgh, seeing off Denizen Works in a tightly fought contest.
If true, the appointment marks the end of a remarkable and convoluted search which has involved more architects than you could shake a stick at. Along the way numerous firms have been linked to the scheme, originally earmarked to be built at the Category A-listed landmark this year as part of a wider restoration project.
If sources are to be believed, they included Zaha Hadid Architects and Hall McKnight.
Perhaps one day the full, tortuous story will emerge.