2 / 2a Grantchester Road
History of 2 / 2a Grantchester Road
II Pair of houses with garages, one with studio. 1961-4 by Colin St John Wilson, that with studio for himself, the other for Dr Peter Squire. Frank Newby engineer. 8″ x 16″ concrete block made with crushed Abergele limestone and waterproof white cement with white aggregate concrete beams exposed. Similarly-planned houses, that for Wilson set behind office range which projects to building line to front, and which has first-floor drawing office set over colonnade into forecourt patio. L’ shaped houses, with staircases on corner, that to Dr Squire’s house a spiral stair, and living rooms in projecting rear wing, that to Wilson’s house of double-height with library balcony. Garages to right of each plot a continuous part of the composition, the regular colonnaded facade described by Colin Rowe as the smallest monument in Cambridge’. Double-glazed sashes to smaller windows, large single double-glazed panes to living rooms. Interiors of fair-faced blockwork except in bedrooms and bathroom which are plastered. Dark stained timber to doors and stairs, and white rubber floorings. Wilson’s kitchen retains its original cupboards.
Included as a powerful, uncompromising design, at once modern yet classical in its formality. `These are two of the best houses produced in this country within the last few years’ (Architect and Building News 7 July 1965). `A study of rationalised and variable urban row house series and a rigorous and groundbreaking exercise in the use of naked concrete blockwork. His own house was a small monument with its cubic double height living room, its insistent columniation, its austere materials.’ (Martin Richardson in Colin St John Wilson, RIBA, 1997, p.19.) Two of only three private houses designed by Sir Colin St John Wilson in the 1960s, and of particular interest in including a house and studio for himself.
Sources Architect and Building News 7 July 1965, pp.11-15 Architectural Design, November 1965, pp.546-9 Byggekunst, no.3, 1967, pp.70-1 Colin St John Wilson, Architect, n.d. c.1972 Colin St John Wilson, RIBA, 1997