Wednesday, March 14, 2012
‘You’ve got to be out of your mind! Why would you want us?” This was Michael Hopkins’ reaction, as he recalls it, when Alain de Botton first phoned up to ask him and his wife, Patty, to design him a holiday house — the fourth in his Living Architecture portfolio.
“We thought, this is an amazing opportunity for a younger practice, so why on earth choose us?”
I have to admit my own initial response was not too dissimilar. For a programme professedly “set up to revolutionise architecture” it seemed an odd choice.
More than any others of their generation, the Hopkinses have steadily built a reputation as architects to the establishment, with impeccable credentials and a top-drawer client list. With Lord’s cricket stand, the Glyndebourne opera house and Portcullis House, as well as buildings for Sherborne and Bryanston schools, Yale, Princeton and Cambridge universities, they have designed settings for the ruling elite to learn, work, rest and play. They bring the hallmark of quality and sobriety, “the acceptable face of modernism”. Even Prince Charles is a tacit fan.
But they have not designed a house since 1976 — when they built their seminal glass and steel box in Hampstead for themselves.
Read the full article here.
Originally published in BD, 14 March 2012