Alan Clawley has news for admirers of controversial architect John Madin.
A private house designed by John Madin in 1957 and built in 1959 has been listed by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport following a recommendation by English Heritage.
Juniper Hill in Lapworth is the first building of Madin’s to be statutorily listed. Sadly he did not live to see it and it has come too late to refute the implication by former council leader Mike Whitby in a letter opposing the listing of the Central Library that as none of Madin’s buildings had been listed his work could be of little merit.
In recommending the house for listing, English Heritage wrote: “Juniper Hill is a good example of Madin’s early domestic work. Built in 1957-9 for Jack Davies, it has been built with considerable attention to detail and to a high specification. Designed to blend into its woodland setting it makes good use of materials, and interacts fluidly with the landscape in which it is set. It is particularly remarkable for the high degree of intactness and of its internal fixtures and fittings. Given its clear architectural interest and particular completeness, it merits listing at Grade II.”
It seems that private houses are fairly easy to get listed. They are hardly ever controversial and listing may even add to their market value. It’s extremely difficult on the other hand to get major buildings like the Central Library listed, especially if they stand on land wanted by private developers. Unfortunately, choosing buildings for political or financial reasons could result in the loss of an architect’s most significant work whilst only their minor projects get listed and saved for posterity. Still, no doubt Mr Madin would have been well pleased to have his first listed building. I hope it won’t be his last.