Munkenbeck+Marshall project, Stephen Marshall Partner in charge
This is one of the relatively few houses by the pioneer modern architect Raymond McGrath and is perhaps the most radical. It was commissioned in 1936 by Gerald Schlesinger and his partner, the landscape architect Christopher Tunnard. Its circular plan and cylindrical form was designed to track the movement of the sun. There is a real drama to the structure, the intersecting concrete beams evoke the spirit of Italian Rationalism or even the later work of Richard Meier. The site – a hilltop above the Thames Valley – was chosen because of its landscape interest with some surviving elements of an original eighteenth-century garden.
The house was bought by a family wishing to restore it while upgrading the technology. They also wanted to add a recording studio. The task of upgrading a reinforced concrete Grade II* house was a delicate one, and the original drawings were referred to and elements of later alterations that could not be removed were carefully screened. The result is superb restoration and upgrading of a fascinating house.