The Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) is taking up residence at Richard Rogers’ landmarked Wimbledon House in London, which will host the new Richard Rogers fellowship programme, a three-month residency scheme for professionals working across the built environment.
Lord Rogers designed the single storey modernist house in the 1960s for his parents to live in and it has now been restored by Gumuchdjian Architects, and adapted to suit the needs to the Harvard GSD fellowship residents, as well as opening up space for programmed events.
Wimbledon House, gifted to Harvard GSD by Lord Rogers and Ruth Rogers, is an ideal new home for the fellowship, inspired by the architect’s work expanding cross-disciplinarily investigation and social engagement in collaboration with urbanism and architecture. Additionally, the heritage status of the house will now be maintained due to its continued use as a residence.
The fully glazed façade integrates the rooms of the house with the gardens
The design for Wimbledon House was very experimental for its time, following a modular format that would allow for the renewal of technology and developing needs as time passed, while providing a basic adaptable structure. It was a concept that Lord Rogers had begun developing with the Pompidou and later Lloyd’s, and tested out on a smaller residential scale with Wimbledon House.
Restoration was spearheaded by Gumuchdjian Architects – founder Philip Gumuchdjian worked with the Richard Rogers Partnership for 18 years before setting up his own practice, and supported by Paddy Pugh of John McAslan + Partners, who previously worked at English Heritage. The approach to restoring the building focused on maintaining the character of the design, instead of the fabric – three quarters of the envelope had to be replaced due to asbestos.
After several renovations, the two steel and glass pavilions were returned to their 1990 status, which meant the removal of recently added buildings and a refurbishment of the interior. The courtyards and gardens were returned to their original open design with the collaboration of landscape architect Todd Longstaffe-Gowan. The pavilions and the outdoor spaces were conceived by Lord Rogers as the core modules of the design that would remain constant, a concept that has been returned to.