Lord Rogers donated the 1960s-era residence, originally designed for his parents, to the Harvard Graduate School of Design as the epicenter of a new fellowship program for architectural and urban research.
This week, the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) debuted the Wimbledon House, designed by renowned British architect Richard Rogers for his parents in the late 1960s, following a two-year renovation by architect Philip Gumuchdjian and landscape architect Todd Longstaffe-Gowan.
Lord Rogers donated the Heritage-listed property to Harvard GSD in 2015 with the intention of it becoming a residence for architecture professionals and scholars. Realizing this vision, the steel-and-glass pavilions that make up the House and the Lodge now serve as home base for the new Richard Rogers Fellowship, which grants six fellows three-month residencies in London, travel expenses, and a $10,000 stipend. The inaugural cohort—hailing from Austria, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United States—has already moved in and started research.
"Richard [Rogers] has long been committed to many of the challenges cities around the world are confronted with today—questions of sustainability, energy, and social equity, among others," says Mohsen Mostafavi, dean of Harvard GSD. "As the Harvard Graduate School of Design deepens its commitment to engaging these issues, the Wimbledon House represents an opportunity to define new modes of inquiry and discovery across disciplines."
Originally envisioned by Rogers as a kit of parts, the house at 22 Parkside represents an early foray into industrialized housing. With fully-glazed facades, it also melds interior spaces with a lush outdoor environment. "The alternating rhythm of pavilions and garden courts contribute considerably to the striking theatricality and luminosity of the ensemble," says Longstaffe-Gowan.
Aiming to recreate this holistic effect with modern materials and to accommodate the needs of the fellows, Gumuchdjian Architects replaced the roof and asbestos-filled exterior walls, removed interior partitions, refurbished joinery and furniture, and redesigned the garden. "Parkside is not just an iconic, flexible machine for living nor simply a historic experimental building that foretold the architect’s future work; it was also a home with a unique memory, patina, and aura," says Gumuchdjian. "Conserving those qualities within a wholly-refurbished, 21st-century building tailored to Harvard’s new use was our aim and hopefully the achievement of the team’s work."