Thematic house is Grade 1 listed
This month Charles Jencks’ Thematic House has been listed as Grade 1, and it has also been announced that it will be opened as a museum. Sitting on the corner of Lansdowne Walk and Clarendon Road the mid- 19th century house was remodelled in 1979-1985 by Jencks with Terry Farrell Partnership and is an early example of Post-Modern architecture in England, conceived by Jencks, a critic and theorist widely credited with defining and fostering the movement internationally.
Everything about the design of Thematic House has a symbolic meaning.The stair was moved to the centre of the house, and its solar symbolism may have prompted the seasonal theme for the principal ground floor rooms. A semi-circular ‘Moonwell’ floods the darker areas with natural light. At the rear of the house paired conservatory bays share access to a central stairway which leads down to the garden. There are different rooms for the different seasons, a dark winter room, a cream spring room, a sunny yellow summer room and the autumn decorated in a burnt red colour. A 'sundial arcade’ window seat next to a large window overlooks the garden
Jencks is an architectural historian, cultural theorist and landscape designer, probably best known for the fantastic Maggie's Centres that he founded with his late wife, Maggie Keswick. In her memory he has involved some of the world's greatest architects and landscape designers to create centres that offer free support for anyone with cancer. US born Jencks studied English literature and architecture at Harvard University, moving to London in 1965. His 1970 doctoral thesis became the basis for ‘Modern Movements in Architecture’ which treated Modern architecture not as a single phenomenon but as a series of discontinuous movements.
Other brilliant Post-Modernist projects by the Terry Farrell Partnership include TV-am studios, Camden Lock, Embankment Place, Charing Cross and SIS headquarters, Vauxhall. More recent work includes the Home Office, London and the Great North Museum, Newcastle.