Concrete Quarterly

From the archive

Summer 1973 - Rogers and Foster: New kids on the block 

The retirement of Richard Rogers, announced in September, marks the beginning of the end of an era in British architecture, one that perhaps started with a house of concrete blocks on the south Cornish coast. Creek Vean was one of the earliest projects completed by Rogers and his then-partners, his wife Su and Norman and Wendy Foster – and prompted the first mention of any of their names in Concrete Quarterly.

It did so with little fanfare, tucking them in behind an item on a Crawley housing estate at the end of a longer feature on the architectural use of concrete blocks. However, the fact that the inside front cover was dedicated to a full-page photograph of the house’s geometric exterior (right) suggests that the CQ editors liked what they saw.

CQ admired the way that the “plain, natural” walls were dramatised by the ingenious planning, “which makes space flow into space”, as well as the complementary palette of blue Welsh slate floors and frameless sliding windows. “The choice of materials seems absolutely right both for the Cornish setting and as a natural background for the display of works of art,” the article concluded, giving an early stamp of approval to two architects who would soon become among the most sought-after in the world. (It was pretty impressed by the Crawley housing estate too …)

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