60 Hornton Street, West Kensington
Representing an important example of Modern Movement domestic architecture, 60 Hornton Street was designed by architect James Melvin as a home for himself and his wife. Constructed of dark Warnham Wealden stock bricks, the house is served by a lift and spiral staircase to all floors in a space saving move over a traditional staircase. Architectural Review in 1971 praised its “fixed section and spatial attitude” that seemed to “hark back to early Corbusian days of the modern movement” while House and Garden pay tribute to the fact “that a house on so restricted a site should be so spacious and still manage to incorporate a sizeable swimming pool is tribute indeed to the imagination and ingenuity of its owner-designer.
In 1994 the acclaimed architects Sauerbruch Hutton carried out an extremely sensitive refurbishment which stayed true to the original intentions of the house but at the same time seemed to increase its sense of theatricality. In 2014 it formed the location for Joanna Hogg’s movie “Exhibition.” She described it as being like the third character in her film, saying, “It’s like a modernist doll’s house and the spiral staircase its spine.” The building is threatened with complete demolition and replacement by another domestic dwelling. The C20 Society is fighting to save the building, but although the site is in a conservation area, we were unable to secure listing for the house.
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