The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Demolition threat to Modernist houses in Camden

The Twentieth Century Society is dismayed at the current threat to two modernist, steel-frame houses in Belsize Park. Built to a Miesian courtyard plan – single-storey with an internal courtyard, the houses were designed by architects Robin Spence and Robin Webster as family homes for themselves in 1978 and completed in 1981

Now, Camden Planning are considering giving consent to a new scheme which demolishes these carefully considered, neat buildings and replaces them with  2 large houses.

The architects designed the houses to sit quietly in the surrounding streetscape, carefully lowering the roofline to ‘hide’ the buildings from the street. The elegance of the thin steel mullions, which support the flat-roof make the building appear lightweight, but the appearance belies the strength of the structure. Neil Jackson, Prof of Architecture at Liverpool University and author of ‘The Modern Steel House’, has recently described the houses as  –

“an example of a small but particularly interesting late-C20 urban house type, these courtyard houses are important.  They allow for modern living within an historic environment without imposing themselves while, at the same time, being true to contemporary design principles and aspirations.”

The houses also appear in a Camden Council publication, Modern Homes in Camden, published in 1984. The Society hope that the borough can be convinced of their importance and that demolition can be avoided. The houses remain in remarkable condition for their age and remain rare examples of Miesian principles in UK domestic architecture.

For further images or information, please contact Jon Wright at the Twentieth Century Society on 020 7250 3857 or by email – jon.wright(at)