The Grey House was designed by architects Eldridge Smerin, and was their second residential project. It was inspired by another Eldridge Smerin house, The Lawns on Highgate Hill, which was shortlisted for the Stirling prize in 2001, and which won awards from the RIBA and Civic Trust.
The practice completed a diverse range of other projects including the radical new research and development Headquarters for BT Cellnet/02 at Ealing Studios. More recent projects include the redesign of the Design Council's workspace in Bow Street, London, a Sixth Form Centre for a secondary school near Solihull, the new Business and Intellectual Property Centre at the British Library. As well as bespoke houses the practice has also developed a low-cost house building kit as featured in a recent episode of Channel 4's Grand Designs.
The practice has also completed a number of high profile retail, commercial and cultural projects including interiors for Selfridges Birmingham, Villa Moda Kuwait, O2’s Mobile Applications Development Centre, the Design Council Headquarters, The Business and Intellectual Property Centre and a restaurant at the British Library and the Globe Theatre’s Sackler Studios.
The practice aims to produce intelligent and unique solutions to specific client briefs, often with constrained budgets, with an unerring attention to detail from concept through to completion.
Eldridge London is an RIBA Chartered Practice. They can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
John Winter (1930-2012) was a modernist British architect born in Norwich. He studied at the Architectural Association in the 1950s, then after national service he attended Yale. In San Francisco he worked for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill as well as Charles Eames. Upon returning to England, he worked for Ernö Goldfinger before setting up his own practice.
John Winter carried out a number of elegant residential projects in the 1960s and ‘70s, most notably his own house, the Cor-Ten house in Highgate Cemetery, a rectilinear structure clad in Corten steel which was designed to gradually rust. Late he took a detailed interest in the restoration and conservation of some of Britain’s most avant-garde International Style properties, including Six Pillars in Dulwich and High Cross House in Dartington, Devon.
In addition to his own home John Winter designed the house which stood on the site of 85 Swains Lane until its demolition 2005. This was a cantilevered building of concrete and steel with an unusual and arguably daring 2/3 cantilever. Sadly this extraordinary house was suffering from corrosion of the steel frame and was at risk of leaning on the cemetery wall for support. It was clear that to restore it would have required complete reconstruction. Eldridge Smerin were brought in by the owner of the site, who had seen their beautiful restoration of The Lawns on Highgate Hill.
Removing the John Winter house was no minor issue, but the local planners agreed to the architects' vision of another, equally modern and unusual glass and concrete house - also cantilevered (but with the benefit of newer materials and techniques). John Winter himself said when interviewed that there would be no hard feelings 'so long as the new house was better'. His opinion was of particular value as at that time he still lived in the Cor-Ten house, no 85’s immediate neighbour down the hill. Reviewing the completed house for Architecture Today magazine he was generous enough to say he felt the new house was 'as near to a faultless building as I have seen for a long time'.