The Twentieth Century Society is deeply saddened to hear the news of John Winter’s death, aged 82. John Winter was a widely recognised protagonist of the modern house. He had a lifelong interest in conservation and paid careful attention to understanding the crux of building attractive modern houses as well as the importance of designing new buildings in context.
Most well known for the home he lived in and built for himself and family in Swains Lane in 1967-9 (grade II * listed), John Winter’s position as a nationally important modernist architect was highlighted in the December 2011 Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) Docomomo annual lecture. This in depth interview with architectural historian and journalist Adrian Forty featured a resume of John Winter’s significant projects, including images of him building his own first house in Regal Lane, Primrose Hill. Winter is most famous for his small scale modernist houses, and his style has become synonymous with the British tradition of modernist architecture.
He worked with Erno Goldfinger in London early in his career and also spent time in the US where he studied at Yale University, and went on to work for SOM architects where he developed an interest in simple steel framed building methods. On his return to Britain he lectured at the AA and also set up his own practice where undertook a small number of private house commissions in north London, including three in Belsize Park completed in 1971, as well as three properties built on Regal Lane.
Later in his career he focused his work on the restoration of modernist houses including High Cross House, Dartington Devon by William Lescaze (1932), listed grade II *, High and Over in Amersham (1930) by Amyas Connell, grade II* listed. This interest in conservation reflects the careful attention he paid throughout his career to understanding modernist architecture as well as the importance of designing new buildings in context.
I really enjoyed meeting him at his house in Swains Lane earlier this year, ahead of a tour we gave to Twentieth Century Society members of Nos 10 and 11 Regal Lane.