David Chipperfield at the residence of photographer Nick Knight:’ The whole street lobbied against it, writing to Prince Charles to try to have it stopped.’ Photograph: Michael Franke/ The Guardian
In 1990, when I was in my mid-3 0s and still fairly inexperienced, I was approached by the manner photographer Nick Knight and his wife, Charlotte, to expand their London home. They is now in a postwar live that Nick’s father had improved. Nick required a studio upstairs and more opening for his young family. At the time, I had a small office of four or five people and we were working with the designer Issey Miyake on a number of store interiors in Japan. This was my firstly building.
I was aroused about everything I was seeing in Japan at the time: they tend to treat the garden as part of the house. Most of Nick’s neighbours expended a lot of money on their facades; we did the opposite. We is focused on how the house and garden could connect. We formed a large concrete chassis that spread out from the side of the house, which had the consequences of the partially enclosing a courtyard garden. It also meant that the corner of the living room could be opened up, without a supporting article, framing a deem into the garden, creating an outside opening that feels like an indoor one.
We terminated up with a fight on our hands. The whole street lobbied against it, writing to Prince Charles to try to have it stopped. The people across the road prevented their draperies drawn for a couple of years in protest. It was an introduction to republican English taste, which was quite shocking. It wasn’t that the house was too big; it was that the front didn’t look like the other houses in the street. That was the worst part of the process for me. Once we started to build, it was easy by comparison.
Designing and build lives for people is a delicate process, which is why I only take over one or two at a time. Success depends very much on how you develop a route of being personal and professional: that relationship is critical.
This was the first time I had a central theme to my work- the idea of creating an expansive panorama in a suburban street- and it is a strategy I’ve lived by since. The home has been part of Nick and Charlotte’s life for 30 times and I think it has helped them formulate a work-life balance. Nick’s work is incredibly intense and demanding, yet he is dedicated to his family. I like to think the house has played a role.
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