Today, the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) premiered Richard Rogers’s Wimbledon House in London for the first time since restorations by British architect Philip Gumuchdjian and landscape architect Todd Longstaffe-Gowan (MLA ’84) began in 2015. The House, designed by Lord Rogers for his parents in the late 1960s, was gifted to Harvard GSD in 2015 by Lord Rogers and Ruth Rogers to ensure the Heritage-listed property’s continued use as a residence, and to provide a unique research opportunity for future generations of professionals and scholars—from across fields and disciplines—whose work is focused on the built environment.
As such, the Wimbledon House will serve as the residence for the Richard Rogers Fellowship, as well as a new GSD venue for lectures, symposia, and other events bringing together scholars and practitioners from London, Europe, and around the world. The first class of fellows has taken residence at the House and commenced research; they hail from Austria, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United States, and were chosen from more than 200 applicants. Public programming at the House will begin this fall with a conversation themed around the topic of food and the city.
Commenting on the renovations to the House, also known as 22 Parkside, Philip Gumuchdjian, Founding Director of Gumuchdjian Architects, says, “Parkside is not just an iconic, flexible machine for living, nor simply a historic experimental building that foretold the architect’s future work; it was also a home with a unique memory, patina, and aura. Conserving these qualities within a wholly refurbished 21st century building tailored to Harvard’s new use was our aim and hopefully the achievement of the team’s work.” See photos of the restored house below.
Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, Founding Director of Todd Longstaffe-Gowan Landscape Design, notes, “Parkside is a total work of art, where the house, gardens, and interiors were conceived in concert to form a unified whole. The alternating rhythm of pavilions and garden courts contribute considerably to the striking theatricality and luminosity of the ensemble; the outdoor rooms are at once boundless and enveloping. Our aim has been to restore the original balance of the 1960s composition to better reflect the architect’s original intentions, and to recover the richness, rhythm, and textures of the landscape that give Parkside its particular charm.”
“Located near some of the world’s finest resources for research in urbanism, the Richard Rogers Fellowship program represents both an international extension of the GSD’s physical footprint and the School’s commitment to engaging issues faced by cities globally,” says Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. “We are thrilled with the gift of the Wimbledon House and know that it will serve as the foundation for meaningful progress in addressing international urban issues.”
The Richard Rogers Fellowship, launched in October 2016, is inspired by Lord Rogers’s commitment to cross-disciplinary investigation and social engagement, evident across his prolific output as an architect, urbanist, author, and activist. Each year, six fellows will be awarded a three-month residency, travel expenses to London, and a 10,000 USD cash prize, affording them access to London’s extraordinary institutions, libraries, practices, professionals, and other resources. The goal of the residency program is to support research that addresses alternative and sustainable urban futures.
Projects that the six inaugural fellows are bringing to the House this year include examinations of public and affordable housing; how food and cooking transform cities; and citizen-driven urban regeneration initiatives, particularly in London and Berlin.
The Richard Rogers Fellowship is an open international competition that encourages in-depth, original forms of investigation as a way to expand both practice and scholarship. Interested applicants from any field or background are encouraged to apply for the fellowship during the next application cycle, which will open in Fall 2017.
To learn more, please visit the Richard Rogers Fellowship website.