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Piers Gough’s ‘extrovert and ostentatious’ home for Janet Street-Porter listed

  • 7 Comments

A 1988 London townhouse designed by CZWG’s Piers Gough for television presenter Janet Street-Porter has been awarded Grade II-listed status

Ministers approved an application from Historic England to extend heritage protection to 44 Britton Street in Clerkenwell.

The four-storey building was recognised as an ‘extrovert and ostentatious example of post-modern domestic architecture’ and an ‘uncommon late 20th-century revival of the London townhouse tradition’.

Gough told the AJ the decision to list the building – which he described as a portrait of Street-Porter herself – was ‘fabulous, exciting, brilliant’.

‘It is a celebratory scheme,’ he said. ‘It’s idiosyncratic; it looks like its owner. It was not an expensive building but it carries a visual punch.’

Gough said he enjoyed working with Street-Porter, whom he met some 20 years before starting work on the scheme when the pair joined the Architectural Association on the same day in the 1960s.

‘I look back on the project very fondly because I was working with someone I was in sympathy with,’ said Gough.

‘I have always adored Janet, we stayed in touch and had the same tastes, the same sense of humour. She was an inspiring client, and in the end the building is a portrait of the client, which is something houses can be.’

Janet Street-Porter at the home designed for her by CZWG at 44 Britton Street

Janet Street-Porter at the home designed for her by CZWG at 44 Britton Street

Source: Tim Street-Porter

Janet Street-Porter at the home designed for her by CZWG at 44 Britton Street

Historic England described the house’s elevations as ‘conventional’ and ‘echoing the proportions of the surrounding Georgian buildings’.

But the heritage body added: ‘The overlaid interlinking diamond frameworks across the façade create a wholly untraditional aesthetic, to which the materials, chosen due to happenstance and budget, contribute.’

The AJ described the building, almost 29 years ago, as a ‘box of delights’, adding: ‘Behind that ostensibly orderly façade is a home whose planning, spatial and tectonic games would astonish even Gough’s illustrious forbears.’

Street-Porter left the house in 2001.

Historic England chief executive Duncan Wilson said: ‘It is an inventive and idiosyncratic building by a leading exponent of post-modernism and reflects the personality of Janet Street-Porter, who commissioned the architects and lived there.

‘Post-modernism represents an important strand of late 20th-century architecture and cultural heritage and I am delighted that this significant example of the style has been recognised through listing.’

CZWG's 44 Britton Street for Janet Street-Porter

CZWG’s 44 Britton Street for Janet Street-Porter

Source: CZWG

CZWG’s 44 Britton Street for Janet Street-Porter

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Readers' comments (7)

  • Quite a distinguished street, because hidden on the opposite side - across a courtyard behind the retained facade of Booth's distillery - is the very fine development by Yorke Rosenberg Mardall to provide their own offices (and just along the street is the fabulous Jerusalem Tavern). A London street that's not been over-stuffed, yet.

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  • chris Dyson

    Amazing and well deserved ...congratulations to Piers and his crew !

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  • Hooray!

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  • It's a great house. Good decision Historic England!

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  • Chris Roche

    This was arguably the most widely published domestic project of the decade, due in part to Janet's profile, but also due to the radical approach to form and materials. Ironically, Margaret Hodge MP, who was then the Chair of Islington Planning was minded to refuse the application until the public mood of the planning chamber got behind the scheme and it was approved.
    It was also my first significant project after graduation in the role as project architect. Janet, Piers, and the Contractor Mike di Marco had all studied together at the AA and the strength of the project is due in large part to the shared trust and aspirations of all involved. It was a privilege but play a part in this project, and the recognition is well deserved.

    Chris Roche / Founder 11.04 Architects.

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  • Deserves its listing as much for the historical associations as the architecture.

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  • It is quite an amazing building. I love this 1991 documentary with Piers Gough and Janet Street-Porter currently on BBC iPlayer:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01rqrd0

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