Colin St John Wilson Grantchester Road

Source: "Colin St John Wilson. Buildings and Projects" Colin St John Wilson, Roger Stonehouse, Eric Parry, Charlie McKeith (Black Dog Publishing, 2007)Architect: Colin St John WilsonLocation: Cambridge, USAYear: 1961 - 1964
Date: April 25, 2024 Category: Classic

The design of these two houses explores the conventional idea of a mixed residential, terraced street architecture. Although only a pair of houses were built, they were based upon a system of elements whose combination could have extended the pair into a whole street with many variations. The common elements were a modular 4 x 4 inch grid (a 100 x 100 mm grid in anticipation of the impending change to metric measurement) and a constant building line on the street front. The entrance loggia, service entrance, larder kitchen and dining room facing onto a walled patio were also common to both houses. For the remaining elements the two houses differed widely.

The site was a former kitchen garden purchased by Dr Squire, a Fellow of Churchill College, and Wilson. It was divided equally into two 50 x 150 foot (15.2 x 45.7 metre) plot. Each houses has three bedrooms and a similar internal arrangement. However, behind the unifying screen wall to Grantchester Road the Wilson house is moved west along the grid lines into the garden with an entry courtyard on the street frontage accessed under the drawing office for the practice. Further, its living room was developed into a double-height space with a library gallery at the rear where the Squire house had its principal bedroom over a single-height living room.

Both houses were constructed externally and internally in fair faced concrete and concrete block (Abergele Limestone and white cement), the first time block was used as a finish in the UK. Floors were in white rubber and all timber detailing was dark stained. The monumentality of the blockwork columns on the street frontage continues through the interior to the garden elevations. A game is played with the unifying appearance of the unadorned street level colonnade and punctuated solid first floor wall, through double bay spaces for parking and public access to Wilson’s offices. This defines the character of the individual houses within the whole.

1 Comment

  • Anon April 25, 2024

    This is actually Cambridge, UK


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