I have been fascinated by the career of the British architect Patrick Gwynne (1913-2003) for many years. His peculiar, albeit very British, mix of invention and mainstream European Modernism seems very pertinent to today’s design trends.
Gwynne trained at Wells Coates’ office and, at 24, was working on the design of The Homewood. Built in 1938 initially for his parents, Gwynne’s Esher home and studio contains rich levels of decoration and detail. His choice of materials and finishes (terrazzo, marble and gold leaf) create a luxurious aesthetic. However, with the central part of the house floating above the ground on stilts, The Homewood, remains highly relevant to Modern architecture, with a dramatic open-plan living space, luminous white exterior and long, horizontal windows.
The uncompromising levels of expression Gwynne found within architectural forms are also very exciting. Two distinct projects, the 1965 Dell Restaurant at the east end of the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park, and York Theatre Royal’s concrete umbrellas (1967), were continuously thought-provoking to Universal while we developed ideas for Battersea Power Station’s pavilion spaces.
I must add that I continue to remain at a loss to understand why there are no detailed examinations of Patrick Gwynne’s oeuvre in print.