TL 86 SE RUSHBROOKE THE HAMLET
Nos. 1, 2 and 3 and clubhouse,
And linking painted walls
Group of three linked estate cottages and clubhouse. Commissioned 1950, built 1956-9 by Llewelyn Davies and Weeks, job architect John Weeks, executive architect Michael Huckstepp, for Lord Rothschild. White-painted brick on black-painted brick plinth; slate roof largely treated as monopitches, short stacks to houses. The houses single storey with storage lofts. Nos. 2 and 3 treated as a mirrored pair of 'L'-shaped two-bedroom cottages, linked by a wall to No. 1, also 'L'-shaped, and thence to club house set back on principal road through village. All have large shed areas for storing tools and muddy boots. The houses based on a rectangle 56 ft wide by 33ft deep, with a central spine, from which sections are then cut away to provide a picturesque but coherent composition. All houses arranged along the linking wall, which continues as the spine through them. All living rooms face south. Black timber doors, some of the front doors set in angle of houses to give greater shelter and all having glazed panels, those to the sheds are solid. Timber windows painted black, their opening lights painted white. Large closely-mullioned windows to the first floor stores. Interiors not of special interest. The club house repeats the same idiom on a larger scale. Bar in two sections, the rear part separated by sliding partition originally used for dances, and club room set either side of central entrance. Black timber doors, black timber windows with white-painted opening lights. The glazing to the main hall at the side of the entrance in pattern inspired by Le Corbusier's Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp, and set with red glass. The main bar area open to the high monopitched roof, with bar and fireplace. The inspiration for the clubhouse was a television presented by Lord Rothschild when such items were luxuries not found in most rural homes. The black and white painted idiom is widely used in Suffolk, and the materials are traditional, yet Rushbrooke is wholly modern in its planning and design. Richard Llewelyn Davies and John Weeks were commissioend in 1950 to build estate cottages for Lord Rothschild, whom Llewelyn Davies had met when studying at Trinity College, Cambridge, in the 1930s. The linking wall defined a sense of enclosure, from which the orthogonal plans developed. The group of linked cottages form a closely defined group round a medieval well head (already listed). Their design was based on the award-winning prototype at Poplar Meadow, with modifications to the roof and porches as Weeks's ideas evolved. The group at the Hamlet replaced a group of dilapidated estate cottages thought incapable of repair.
Though built to a higher specification than public housing, the development of a coherently planned 'house type' and strong visual idiom was much admired at the time. Rushbrooke also broke the established imagery of post-war rural housing. Its ideas ran closely parallel to, but slightly anticipated, the research of the English group of CIAM (the international research group on modern architecture with a particular interest in housing and planning) in 1955, or slightly later. These ideas, by Bill Howell and John Partridge, James Stirling, Alison and Peter Smithson and John Voelcker, were also widely published and were influential in some of these architects' later low-rise high-density schemes for urban areas. They show how the pragmatic modernism of Rushbrooke was to become a powerful force in housing design in the later 1960s and 1970s.
'Simple, single storey white-painted brick houses sited around an open space ..., it made it clear to everyone that, in the hands of a skilled architect, a very ordinary brief and a modest budget could result in a real sense of place. Co-inciding with the Architectural Review's Outrage issues, dealing with the lack of any sense of place in the housing developments of the time, the Rushbrooke scheme was admired as one of the few developments which felt like a real place'. So wrote John Winter in Contemporary Architects, third edition, 1994.
Listing NGR: TL8920761570