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A Hotchpotch Series of Ad Hoc Solutions: Theo Crosby’s Hammersmith house

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stephen ParnellORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This article tells the story of the New Brutalist house that Theo Crosby designed in Hammersmith, London. This act of storytelling uses historical and architectural methods (archives, measured drawings and models, oral histories, interviews) to document and understand the house’s development from its original conversion from a stable in 1956 to when Theo’s first wife, Anne, moved out in 2019. By describing how the house responded to changes in the family’s circumstances over the years, I emphasise the everyday relationship between the family and the house: the role that the house played as a proxy and mediator for the unsaid and unsayable, as well as the role that the family played in its ongoing design and production. In this way, the essay situates the house within architectural history and argues that when New Brutalism – a movement that Crosby helped launch in the 1950s – is considered ‘the direct result of a way of life’ ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM CSL_CITATION {"citationID":"h7DHMCJ5","properties":{"formattedCitation":"(Smithson, Smithson, and Crosby 1955: 1)","plainCitation":"(Smithson, Smithson, and Crosby 1955: 1)","noteIndex":0},"citationItems":[{"id":344,"uris":[""],"uri":[""],"itemData":{"id":344,"type":"article-magazine","container-title":"Architectural Design","issue":"1","page":"1","title":"The New Brutalism","volume":"25","author":[{"family":"Smithson","given":"Alison"},{"family":"Smithson","given":"Peter"},{"family":"Crosby","given":"Theo"}],"issued":{"date-parts":[["1955",1]]}},"locator":"1"}],"schema":""} (Smithson, Smithson, and Crosby 1955: 1), it continues to offer lessons to understanding architecture beyond the aesthetic, without denying the potency of the aesthetic itself. The contribution is therefore a more nuanced understanding of New Brutalism and the enigmatic behind-the-scenes architect Theo Crosby, as well as a detailed analysis and documentation of this early example of the movement through a personal encounter.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Parnell S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Architectural Histories

Year: 2021

Volume: 9

Issue: 1

Pages: 16-16

Online publication date: 24/11/2021

Acceptance date: 17/10/2021

Date deposited: 01/12/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2050-5833

Publisher: European Architectural History Network


DOI: 10.5334/ah.611


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