Modern Architecture

Read Complete Research Material


Modern Architecture

Modern Architecture


The Kensal Maxwell Fry House Property at Ladbroke Grove was completed in 1938 and was the first British modernist social housing. This paper will attempt to make an analysis of its architecture and its ideas of planning and to explain its popularity in the past and in the present. Kensal Maxwell Fry House was built by a coal and gas company for its workers to stay there.

The architect

Maxwell Fry was one of the few modernist British architects working in Britain in the thirties; most of whom were immigrants from continental Europe where modernism emerged (Emmett2002 155). As the chief assistant, in the department of the architect of the Southern Railway, one of his early commissions was the Margate railway station (which started in 1926). In 1933, he confounded a modernist architectural think tank called the modern Architectural Studies (MARS) group.

Kensal House

One of his most famous buildings is the Kensal House in Ladbroke Grove, London. The building was completed in 1937. During the project, he worked with pioneering social reformer Elizabeth Denby in an attempt to create a spacious property with modern amenities that were famous for their presence in the Miramonte in New Malden, Kingston, Surrey; and Impington Village College, in Impington, Cambridgeshire developed in collaboration with Walter Gropius (Charles 2002 90).

The architecture of the house

Kensal House is one of several progressive, modernist housing schemes built in Britain in 1930. However, unlike the Lawn Road and Highpoint Flats One, these apartments were built by coal and gas company for workers. Completed in 1937, the Kensal House marks an important point in the history of British Modernist architecture. At this point, the socio-political ideals of the early modernists were steadily coming forth in their greatest prominence (Durandus 1999 55).

Along with the (now demolished), Quarry Hill flats in Leeds and Berthold Lubetkin's Finsbury Health Centre, Kensal House hints at the credibility of British modernists by highlighting the form of the society in which they lived. British cities in 1930 were in dire need of a housing reform. As the heavy industry continued to dominate and employees (along with their families) were crammed into small apartments with little or no amenities. Crowded streets and dank apartments quickly became a hotbed of disease and the directory easily preventable diseases flourished. Tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, the like took their toll on children and the workers were lucky to be stuck in this slum (Downes, Charles Cowper 1999 44). The Greenwood Act of 1930 was one of many attempts to formally fix the dire situation (and one of the first to emphasize the importance of careful planning).

Modernist prototype

The rent was low, but Kensal House was more than just cheap housing for the working classes. Fry and his employer provided the new tenants with an amazing range of built-in social and community facilities. The property included a community center, a day-care nursery, utilities and a laundry as well as dining facilities. A purpose-built nursery allowed children to play safely in a safe, unpolluted environment under the ...
Related Ads