Stop 12: Modernist Houses - Daydreaming on the King’s Road
16 — 24 Sept 2023
Architecture / Landscape
This is stop number 12 of 14 in the Design Trail 'Daydreaming on the King’s Road', a walk through time and design supported by Cadogan and King's Road Partnership.
A stark visual contrast to the Victorian and Georgian buildings of this Chelsea neighbourhood, 64 and 66 Old Church Street, just off the King's Road, are welcome examples of Modernist architecture. Architects Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus School, and Erich Mendelsohn, known for his expressionist architecture, both designed the Church Road houses whilst living in London having fled the Nazi regime in Germany. The grade II listed 64 Old Church Street, ‘the Cohen house’ was designed by Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff for the publisher Denis Cohen, completed in 1936. It’s undergone two modifications: a new conservatory at the south end, completed in 1992 by Norman Foster, and the second by Apt, the refurbishment of the exterior and a pre-built new extension at the north end of the building. The house looks industrial but the spaces inside are indeed residential living spaces, complete with a sunken squash court and a library. No.66 or ‘the Levy house’ is the only building by Walter Gropius in London. Gropius designed the house with British architect Maxwell Fry for playwright Ben Levy and actress Constance Cumming. No 66 is at a right angle to its neighbour 64 (originally the two plots were one) so only the side of 66 can be seen properly from the street. It has large windows, a conservatory and terrace and there’s a covered space which links the two properties. No 66 has been altered with (non original) exterior tiles, but still looks striking as you walk by the famous Chelsea Arts Club towards the King's Road.