Radical ESSEX




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The Sunshine House

64 Heath Drive was the responsibility of a named partner in Tecton, Francis Skinner, then around 25 years old, and was the prize-winning house in its class. According to contemporary accounts, Lubetkin controlled the Tecton offices closely at this time, overseeing even insignificant design details and was certainly closely involved at every stage. Although the design owes something to Corbusian predecessors (Vauxcresson, Stein/De Monzie), its main inspiration must have been the preliminary drawings for Tecton’s flats at Highgate, Highpoint 1. These would have been taking shape at the same time.

Careful attention to site and aspect make the house a delight to live in. Morning sun shines through the terrace proscenium, lighting and warming the bedrooms. By mid-afternoon, sheltered corners of the terraces give “shirt sleeve” temperatures even in the February sun. The setting sun shines into the main room towards the end of the day.

From a craft viewpoint, the house is very well made. Most of the problems encountered during the current phase of refurbishment have been caused by ill-considered “improvements” or poor maintenance. Despite having no damp course, there is no evidence of penetrating or rising damp anywhere. The floor slab appears to have been made in the form of a shallow tray, which is made from dark-greenish concrete with large aggregate filling. The tray is filled inside with insulating foamed cement, covered with a hard screed. The main walls are 4” reinforced concrete with 2” cork insulation.

64 Heath Drive, Gidea Park (View on Map)
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Radical Essex is a project re-examining the county in relation to radicalism in thought, lifestyle, politics and architecture. A programme of events will take place across Essex throughout 2016 and 2017, shedding light on the vibrant, pioneering thinking of the late 19th and 20th centuries. The project will celebrate the crucial role Essex has played in the history of British Modernism and its utopian ideologies under the themes ‘The Modernist County’ and ‘Arcadia for All’.

The Radical Essex site is designed by Fraser Muggeridge studio and Alex Rich, developed by Twelve.

Radical Essex is led by Focal Point Gallery in collaboration with Visit Essex and Firstsite. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England it forms part of the country wide Cultural Destinations programme, a partnership with VisitEngland, supporting arts organisations to work with the tourism sector to deliver projects that maximise the impact culture has on local economies.

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If you are a business or arts organisation interested to be involved in the project or learn more information, please contact us here

We gratefully acknowledge the support of our project partners: