Presenter Simon Davis visits some of Britain’s finest homes in an exploration of the very best of British twentieth century architecture. The series tells the history of their commission and construction and meets the people who actually live in these impressive and unusual homes as Simon is invited to stay with them for the weekend. Through Simon directly experiencing what it’s like to live in these modern masterpieces we get to understand how architecture and day to day living work together. In some cases he even brings back the original architect to explain his vision in person. The series brings the creativity of architecture to life in an engaging and light-hearted way.
29a, Loom Lane, Radlett, Hertfordshire Simon Davis looks at the best of modern British architecture. This episode looks at the family home of George Marsh which he designed for his own family to leave in. He was the architect behind one of London's earlier tall buildings, Centrepoint. Loom Lane, a distinctive building with an extraordinary paraboloid roof. Simon stays with Marsh's family to discover what life is like living in the house. (architect: George Marsh)
24, The Firs, Hampstead, North London Simon continues his look at some of the best of modern British architecture, visiting The Firs in Hampstead, designed in the late 50s by one of the lesser known but highly-regarded British architect, Patrick Gwynne. Today it is the family home of William and Sharon Sargent, whom Simon visits for a weekend to learn more about Gwynne and his lavish design. The climax of the weekend is a relaxed and entertaining garden party. (architect: Patrick Gwynne)
Brackenfell, Cumbria Designed by Sir John Leslie Martin and Sadie Speight, who later married in 1934. Martin, who was a leading advocate of the International Style with his most famous building being the Royal Festival Hall. Brackenfell, built for textile designer and artist Alastair Morton, MD of Edinburgh Weavers.The interior colour scheme was reputedly designed by Ben Nicholson who lived locally. It now has Grade II listed status. The house hasn't exactly weathered well, as it shows signs of its age, with parts of the concrete structure having rotted away. (architects: Leslie Martin and Sadie Speight)
16, Kevock Road, Lasswade, Edinburgh Stella and David Rankin originally bought their house for the garden, only to discover later that they had also purchased one of Scotland's finest modernist houses. Simon brings one of the architects back to the house for the first time in forty years. Kevock Road the brainchild of both Morris and Steedman, this steel and glass building located near Edinburgh is a mesmerising example of modern living. It was one of Scotland's first modernist constructions, built at the top of a valley. (architects: James Morris and Robert Steedman)
"Stillness", Bromley, Kent Designed in 1934 by Gilbert Booth, its a leading example of Art Deco architecture. With its 56ft roof terrace, private landscaped garden and octagonal outdoor swimming pool. Thanks to a painstaking restoration undertaken by the present owners, the house stands much as it did in the 1930s. Recently assigned a Grade II listing, the five-bedroom property captures much of the elegance of a period many associate with pre-war Paris and the skyscrapers of Manhattan. After the programme was made, came onto the market at an asking price of over £1,295,000. (architect: Gilbert Booth, 1934)