Emily Richardson

Spender House

The Spender House, Essex was designed in 1968 by Richard and Su Rogers (Team 4) for photographer and artist Humphrey Spender. It was a prototype and precursor to the iconic house, Parkside, designed for Rogers’ parents the following year, making it the first example of hi-tech domestic architecture in the UK.

Spender died in 2005 but his spirit is still very present in the house and studio.The film explores the unique architectural qualities of the house and studio and provides a glimpse of its former inhabitants life and work as a painter, textile designer and photographer of British life in the 1930s for Mass Observation.

Spender House is a temporal exploration of place, an exploded portrait of architecture and inhabitant aided by the use of archival sound recording of interviews made with Spender for the British Library.

Connections are made between the place and the person, the place and the archive. There are many rich narratives contained here. To represent the architecture, its interior, the studio and its contents, its position in the landscape and its inhabitants demonstrates the significance of the place.

Spender House, 2018.
HD Video.
15 min

Special thanks to the Humphrey Spender Archive and Rachel Spender.
Made with an Arts and Humanities Research Council Grant, Royal College of Art.