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The builder of suburbia

21 June 2011

Kingston University is about to go behind the rhododendrons and poke its nose into the drawing rooms and lounges of suburban southern England. The university is producing the first critical study of one of the architects whose designs helped shape the outskirts of London, where the capital merges into the home counties.

The study which has attracted £81,272 in funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council will be based on the work of modernist architect Kenneth Wood who recently donated archival materials, including models, plans and drawings, private papers and personal photographs, to the University.

‘While there has been a lot of research into – and comment on – London’s urban architecture of the 50s and 60s, the outer boroughs have been largely neglected,’ researcher Dr Fiona Fisher said. ‘The suburbs were a growth area, an arena in which a generation of modernist architects could establish their reputations.’

The research has already attracted interest from the Twentieth Century Society which hopes to draw on Dr Fisher’s work to help persuade local authorities to safeguard properties from this era.

The picture they use shows Wood’s house in Kingston, Surrey, built for cosmetics manufacturer Stanley Picker in 1961.






































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